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T-Mobile is offering iPhone owners no-hassle network ‘test drives’

T-Mobile is offering iPhone owners no-hassle network ‘test drives’


Owners of newer iPhones can start a free 30-day trial just by downloading an app thanks to eSIM

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An illustration of the T-Mobile logo.
If you own a compatible iPhone, you can try out T-Mobile just by downloading an app.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

T-Mobile is offering a new, low-stakes way to try out its network for free for 30 days with no additional equipment required. Identified by Light Reading, T-Mobile’s existing Test Drive program now works over eSIM with compatible iPhones. All you need to do is download an app, follow the instructions to start the trial with eSIM, and you’re up and running — no billing information required. There’s no change to your current carrier plan or phone number, but you’ll be using T-Mobile data on your device.

The Test Drive program has been around in one form or another since 2014. With the most recent iteration — which is still available to those who can’t use the eSIM feature — T-Mobile will send you a free Wi-Fi hotspot you can connect to with your current phone to try out the network. This new eSIM version offers the same kind of trial (30 days or 30GB, whichever you reach first) with less hassle.

Download the app, enter some information, follow the prompts, and you’re good to go.
Download the app, enter some information, follow the prompts, and you’re good to go.
Images: Chris Welch / The Verge

T-Mobile says the eSIM option is a pilot program that it introduced last week. Currently, it only works with unlocked iPhones starting with XS and newer devices that are running iOS 14.5 or higher. If you have an iPhone 12-gen device, you’ll also have access to T-Mobile’s 5G network during your trial.

We gave it a shot and it actually is as easy as it looks — just follow the set-up prompts and you’re good to go. It definitely beats visiting a store or carrying a Wi-Fi hotspot. It is, of course, particularly beneficial for T-Mobile, too; the carrier is looking to flex its relatively strong 5G spectrum holdings before Verizon and AT&T start catching up later this year with newly acquired C-band frequencies. Getting more customers to try the network and convert now would help it make the most of its 5G “lead.” But in any case, this is one of the easiest ways we’ve seen to try out a new network without ditching your current provider, and if you’re curious what T-Mobile service is like in your area, it’s not a bad way to find out.