T-Mobile is letting customers of other carriers test drive their network with a free mobile hotspot that’s theirs to keep (albeit with a catch).
The free hotspot is just the latest iteration of the Uncarrier’s aptly named Test Drive program. Essentially, it’s part of a move to persuade subscribers of AT&T, Verizon and others to switch to T-Mobile because of its 600 MHz spectrum.
A few years ago, T-Mobile actually lent iPhone 5s devices to interested users for a week so that they could test out the carrier’s network. This appears to be the next logical step: letting users try out T-Mobile’s speed and performance with their own devices.
“Wireless is one of the only industries in the world that forces customers to buy before they try,” the carrier said in a press release. “T-Mobile is out to end this backward practice.”
The hotspot itself looks like a standard mobile broadband device. Basically, the hotspot connects to T-Mobile’s LTE network. From here, you can connect a smartphone or other devices to the hotspot’s Wi-Fi to gain access to that network without switching phones or SIM cards.
T-Mobile also implies that the hotspot is yours to keep, noting that you can return it, hand it off to a friend or “put it under that wobbly table leg.”
For the current offer, T-Mobile is letting users try out their LTE network with the hotspot device for up to 30 days or up to 30GB of data (whichever comes first, presumably).
The catch? Of course, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the hotspot will only work with T-Mobile’s network. So you’ll only get some use out if it if you switch to the carrier (and even then, you’ll probably have to pay for additional hotspot data).
600 MHz Spectrum
Alongside the hotspot offer, T-Mobile is also highlighting a new marketing campaign focused on its 600 MHz spectrum. According to the carrier, signals sent over the 600 MHz spectrum go “twice as far from the tower and work four times better in buildings.”
The 600 MHz spectrum will allow T-Mobiles’s network to function better in rural areas or within buildings, and the carrier says it’s an integral part of its larger 5G rollout.