In the market for a new wireless service provider? It just so happens that T-Mobile remains the only carrier in the United States to offer a try-before-you-buy "Test Drive" to see if the network is right for you. Now, it's changing its own game up with a revamp to the program, expanding its loaner length and switching out iPhones for hotspots.
Test Drive was announced as part of T-Mo's Un-carrier 5.0 initiative in 2014. In the five years since, it's built up more towers to serve more subscribers in more areas. It even has a new band of spectrum, 600MHz, that it wants to showcase.
So, the company has decided to update its trial offer. It will still be free, but prospective customers will no longer be given an iPhone with its own number, but a hotspot to which they can connect their existing phones (including Android phones), thus keeping their existing numbers. It's not an apples-to-apples comparison of how users will experience the network — cellular voice calls are the biggest omission from the experience to think of — but corporate might hope that you'll be focused more on data speeds instead.
There are also changes to the trial period as well: instead of 7 days, Test Drive can last up to 30 days or when 30GB of data is used, whichever comes first. Users aren't obligated to return the hotspot to a store when they're done with it, meaning they can give it to someone on T-Mobile who might want to use it.
You can learn more about Test Drive right here.
It'll be even more interesting to see how people will experience T-Mobile's network when it finally completes its merger with Sprint, something expected to happen over the coming months.