T-Mobile’s Test Drive lets you try their network… for free

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Want to see if T-Mobile’s network is better than your existing carrier’s before you switch? The company’s T-Mobile Test Drive program lets you try out their network at all of your regular locations for 30 days at no cost. I have considered changing to T-Mobile when the iPhone 11 comes out, and now I can find out how their network works without spending a dime

In the early 2000s, I was a T-Mobile customer because the company had no issues with me adding test cellphones to its network all the time while AT&T (Cingular) did. When the first iPhone arrived in 2007, it was only available on AT&T, so I grudgingly switched.

Sadly, their signal strength in my neighborhood is horrible. If it wasn’t for Wi-Fi calling, I wouldn’t be using my iPhone! I tried Verizon for a year, and although their signal was slightly better at home, it was horrible in other locations I frequently visit.

I thought about going back to T-Mo, but I didn’t want to switch only to find out that it didn’t work for me now. Recently I was doing some research when I found out about the Test Drive, and after reading the fine print I signed up.

You don’t get a SIM to pop in your phone. Instead, T-Mo sends a mobile hotspot to you that runs on their network. You turn it on, link your iPhone to it through Wi-Fi, and then test the speed and reliability of the T-Mobile network by using the hotspot to make Wi-Fi calls and burn data.

During the 30-day test drive you have 30 GB of data to use. I expect to use that amount both at home and on the road before sending it back to T-Mobile.

Here’s what the device looks like:

T-Mobile Test Drive hotspot. Photo ©2019, Steven Sande

T-Mobile Test Drive hotspot. Photo ©2019, Steven Sande

I wish every carrier would follow T-Mobile’s example of a no-cost test drive. As it is, I have found through my testing that at least locally, the T-Mobile network speeds are much slower than what I’m getting from AT&T. For the time being, I’ll reluctantly stick with AT&T. Hopefully at some point in the future when T-Mo has built out its 5G network the results will be different.