T-Mobile Lets Customers Test Drive iPhones, Launches Ad-Free Music Streaming Service
T-Mobile is shaking up the industry yet again. The wireless carrier is taking two very popular parts of mobile -- the iPhone and music streaming -- and giving them away for free.
At "Uncarrier 5.0," a loud, lively event in downtown Seattle, the wireless carrier that has ruffled feathers for the past year and a half announced a trio of new offerings. Each is, like the company's previous announcements, an unconventional measure meant to challenge the three larger U.S. carriers.
The first new offering, dubbed "7 Night Stand," allows handset shoppers to "test drive" the iPhone 5 -- they can order online and use the phone for a week, with T-Mobile's unlimited data plan. It is a first step in T-Mobile's imminent campaign to push the strength of the data in its network.
The company unfurled a new tagline for its network, called 'data strong.'
With its second offering, T-Mobile is again emphasizing its data. T-Mobile's unlimited data customers, under its Simple Plan, will be able to access multiple music streaming services. And T-Mobile will cover the data bill.
In January, AT&T partnered with Beats Music, which Apple now owns, to offer a discount on the streaming service for its subscribers. Sprint launched a similar partnership with Spotify in April.
"Our competitors want you to believe that Internet radio is still free on their networks, but it's not," Mike Sievert, T-Mobile's CMO, said in a statement. "On AT&T and Verizon, you're paying for every note for every song you stream. You even pay for the ads."
For its final new offer, T-Mobile is launching its own music streaming service, partnering with Rhapsody. The service, aptly dubbed "unRadio" holds a catalog of 20 million songs. It's also ad free, an announcement that prompted cheers from the Seattle crowd.
T-Mobile's Simple Plan customers will have have free access to the service; other T-Mobile subscribers will receive a discounted rate of $4 a month. Rhapsody will price the unRadio service for other carrier customers at $5 a month.
The company plans a large marketing push for each offering. It will be focused on social strategies, T-Mobile executives said, but did not offer further details.