T-Mobile Test Drive officially launches today, invites being sent out early

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Just a quick reminder for you guys, today is the day T-Mobile originally slated to launch its 7-day test drive program. Users can now sign up to start the #7nightstand with T-Mo and get an iPhone 5s for a week with unlimited calls, texts and data.

  • The iPhone 5s test device must be ordered online. It will be delivered by mail.
    You must sign for it and be at least 18 years old to sign.
  • T-Mobile Test Drive is free for 7 days and starts when the device is signed for.
  • After 7 days you must return it in good condition to a T-Mobile retail store (not an authorized retailer) so it’s important you know where your nearest retail store is. Find it here.

You don’t pay anything for the device. However, it’s important to note than if the iPhone comes back with a scratched screen, damaged display, water damage, or has its Find My iPhone feature switched on or can’t be powered on, you’ll be charged a $100 damage fee. Before they let you take the device, a hold for $699 + taxes will be placed on your credit or debit card. You won’t be charged anything unless you fail to return the device. Sign up here.

Just a couple of days after announcing the program, T-Mobile revealed that it had received 12,000 pre-registrations. Let’s hope they have enough iPhones in stock.

A snoop around the internet reveals that yesterday evening/last night, T-Mobile started sending out the invites to the test drive. One journalist, Dwight Silverman over at the Houston Chronicle goes through his experience of booking the test drive, and advises using a credit card over a debit card for the hold. Mostly because you’re not 100% sure when the hold will be removed, and a debit card with that large a hold in place will restrict you from accessing your available funds when you most need them.

Apart from an issue with his card address, Silverman reveals the process is quite simple. His device is expected to arrive on Friday.

If you do sign up, even if it’s as an Android fan looking to try out an iPhone for a week, let us know how you get on. How long does it take to get through the process? How many days do you have to wait until the phone is delivered? Use the comments below or shoot me an email (cam@tmonews.com) or tweet @PhoneDog_Cam.

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  • Tim Moore

    Mine is also expected to arrive Friday. My Nexus 4 doesn’t get LTE so wanted to try out the speeds and check out the iOS in phone form. Use an iPad but have Android phone. Figured give it a shot. Looking forward to it.

    • S. Ali

      You can get LTE right now on the Nexus 4 by rooting and installing the “Nexus 4 LTE Flasher” from the Google Play Store. It works very well.

      • Tim Moore

        Eh not really worth the effort to me. My HSPA+ is fine and I’m on wifi the rest of the time. Plus I can get a new phone this fall, which I’m sure I will. Thanks though.

        • Fabian Cortez

          You sound like a Verizon customer.

        • Fabean

          And you sound like a fool.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Intelligent and highly original.

        • Fabian Cortez

          You said your nexus 4 doesn’t have LTE so you wanted to try. S. Ali provided you with a free and easy way to test LTE in your area yet you declined and proclaimed that your HSPA+ is fine and that you’re usually on Wi-Fi; that’s Verizon talk right there. “I barely use my data anyway since I’m always on Wi-Fi, so unlimited data means nothing to me.” They’ve (AT&T and Verizon) done a great job training people into that mentality.

          Yet you opted for a $700 hold on your account and waiting 5 days.

          So which is it?

        • Obi Alfred

          Really? Just a few minutes isn’t worth the LTE speeds? Lazy

    • Matthew James

      I hope you live in a really good coverage area, because the iPhone does not play nicely with T-Mobile’s frequencies at all.

      • Tim Moore

        Have good coverage in my area and according to their LTE map I should have excellent coverage. And even if it has issues, why do I care? It’ll be my 2nd phone for only 7 days. this will just be something for me to play with.

      • D_Wall__

        When i had an Iphone 5 in Orlando. I never had any complaints about LTE speeds or any other issues. How does the Iphone not play well?

      • Alex Zapata

        Except for the part where the 5s has full TMO support including AWS on 3G….

        • Jay J. Blanco

          In my market 1900mhz is 3G/HSPA so any AT&T phone can work with no problems including iphone 3, 4, 4S, & 5

        • Alex Zapata

          I was more pointing out the fact that the OP was talking about their test drive phone coming in soon, which is a 5S which supports all TMO frequencies. Refarmed PCS areas can be iffy though. I live in one :-/

      • donnybee

        This is false. I’ve used an unlocked iPhone 4S on the refarmed spectrum with T-Mo perfectly fine. Just as well and better speeds than I saw with AT&T. Also went from that to an unlocked iPhone 5 which, again, worked perfectly. Now my brother uses that phone and still has service that’s just as great as my current iPhone 5S. Oh and Matthew, just so you’re aware..the 5S is sold through T-Mobile too. That means it DOES work perfect with their spectrum/frequencies and this one I didn’t need to unlock.

        Not sure if you’re confusing network range in here, but that would be an entirely different conversation and should not include any phone manufacturers. Maybe you’re an Apple hater, in which case you need to figure out the difference between fact and opinion.

      • TrueCopy

        This certainly used to be the case, before the iPhone officially landed on TMo. But it’s not anymore… and I think opinions like yours are precisely why they’ve launched this program with the iPhone first.

        I have an iPhone 4S, initially for AT&T, now unlocked on TMo, and I get faster data and better call quality than I did with AT&T.

  • Matthew James

    I’m all for T-Mobile being successful. I just don’t get how they can tout their network as being the best and fastest. Where I live (Chicago suburb) the coverage is good, but the signal is all over the place. The LTE signal is very weak, and when it falls back on “4G” I find that to be even worse sometimes. In metropolitan areas we should NEVER see EDGE, yet it is impossible not to. Why is this?

    • Jay J. Blanco

      Until all of tmobile customers are 3G, edge will be around for a long time.

      • PiCASSiMO

        What phones take data only via 2G Edge?

        • Jay J. Blanco

          About half of tmobile customers uses 2G only. Until the 2G is upgraded and all of those customers move over 2G will be around

        • PiCASSiMO

          I think you are mixing up voice over data… and I believe you can retain voice-only while updating a 2G tower to 3.5G (HSPA+) or even 4G (LTE).

        • Jay J. Blanco

          I was saying half of tmobike customers use 2G only devices. So once tmobile entire native footprint is 4G. They can penetrate that market.

      • THE D

        I never see 3G on T-Mobile its always either 2G or 4G/LTE.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          HSPA is 3G. T-Mobile dubs it as 4G because it’s high speed

    • PiCASSiMO

      I’m experiencing the LTE to HSPA to 3G to EDGE and sometimes NO SERVICE here in the northwest Chicago suburbs near O’Hare airport. Kind of sad representation, which I’ve complained for many years to T-Mobile.

      • Jay J. Blanco

        Sounds like you need a micro cell

        • PiCASSiMO

          The variability is not at my house/work, rather moving in a car from one location to the next. There are pockets of sh*t data reception, to the point that I can’t even make calls with the NO SERVICE zones. So a MicroCell won’t help…

        • Jay J. Blanco

          oh. Ok. Yeah I get those too.

        • Dakota

          So switch carriers

    • Jay J. Blanco

      LTE is High frequency so it’s really not that reliable. I’m just glad hspa isn’t on those frequencies anymore. 1900mhz is way more reliable and reaches farther. Penatraction is also better

      • jeremyvbk

        AWS reaches roughly the same as PCS spectrum. Tmobile just has downtilt set to a low angle,and power levels lower.

    • Spanky

      They actually don’t tout their network as “the best”, since that can be very easily disproved. Swiss cheese coverage and lack of building penetration are the two 800 lb. gorillas in the room. As far as their network being the fastest…it is, in the places where you can actually get a strong LTE signal. However, what’s more important, sporadic bursts of speed or reliability?

    • ginag909

      its the same here in los angeles tmobile network is a mixed bag hspa its not usuable at all icant use data AT ALL when i have full bars ”4G” i dont get it why doesnt hspa work? It did before .lte is fine when i have it outside but hspa is worthless ,, and INSIDE buildings i got tired of having no service.

      switched to an att go phone sucks but i have lte deep in buildings and signal in places tmobile had nada ,ihate it having 2 gigs if data on att but on the brightside signaL IS MUCH better .

    • matt

      from what I’ve seen in san jose, tmobile’s fallback to 4g is still faster then AT&T lte in the same area.

  • Chris

    They need to do test drives for Androids. I don’t like iOs.

    • PiCASSiMO

      Agreed.. like the SGS5, HTC1, SXZ1.

      • josephsinger

        Hey petition them or make a #hashtag. It is what it is. Accept it or don’t.

    • monkeybutts

      Apple is paying for the test drive phones. This would be a good chance for HTC to swoop in on customers if Samsung doesn’t respond.

      • Dakota

        Good point. It will sell iPhones, esp since Tmobile didn’t have it for such a long time & the company has little to no presence in Apple Stores (due to the payment plans vs contracts)

    • josephsinger

      It doesn’t matter whether you like iOS or not. The test drive program is with iPhone 5S. If Sammy or HTC thinks it’s to their advantage they’ll do a test drive. I don’t know why that’s so hard to understand.

      • Joseph’s Conscience

        You don’t have to reply to every opinion you disagree on, just like you stated in another article that the commenter doesn’t have to read every story posted….
        Just a reminder of your own advice given, is it that hard to follow your own advice Joesph?

        • josephsinger

          And you have the ability to just get over yourself as well.

        • Joseph’s Conscience

          I can’t because I am your conscience
          You contrrroool me Josie

  • KenP

    Signed up 22JUN2014 with a projected delivery date of 27JUN2014. I used an American Express credit card. Of note, the transaction triggered a “fraud alert” by AMEX so was initially declined. I got a cryptic note on the t-mobile confirmation page saying the card had already participated so was not eligible. I cleared the fraud alert with amex then reloaded the t-mobile signup page. Then the transaction went through.

    • KenP

      I just received delivery confirmation for 25JUN2014, 2 business days from order date. So they are on time. Initial estimate I guess allowed so leeway at the warehouse.

  • AlaJoe

    Why would you be charged a $100 damage fee for switching on the Find My iPhone feature?

    • Tmo1082

      Because you can lock the iPhone up if its still on and the only way to get Find my iPhone to turn off is to enter your password for icloud.

      • AlaJoe

        I would assume if one turned the phone back in they would go to “erase all content and settings” and the phone would be back to factory fresh and I would assume it would also go back to Apple for an official wiping anyway. My thinking is all these trials are going to be done with brand new phones and if you decided to keep it you just do nothing and any turn in phones will be sent back to apple to be used as warranty replacements or sold as refurbs. Or am I assuming to much.

        • EndlessIke

          I think there have been recent changes to find my iPhone to deter theft, such that erase all now no longer removes it from an owner’s icloud settings. You can find your phone even after its been stolen and wiped.

          I also believe that the trials will be conducted with a pool of refurbs, which will be lent and re-lent. And that only after agreeing to stick with T-mobile are you given a brand sparkly iphone to call your own.

        • THE D

          Apple most likely has a backdoor to bypass your password.

        • schweddyballs

          Find my iPhone activation locks any iphone that has been erased. So It would STILL require apple I’d password even after reset

    • CRT24

      Because it bricks the phone unless you know the password to unlock it.

  • Mooch

    What happened to the two day shipping? Friday is five days away.

  • landmarkcm

    I was all set to try it. Until I read the 699.00 hold.

    • Bratty

      WTH? You think they would give you a free phone and hope you bring it back?

      • landmarkcm

        LOL. How did I guess someone would reply with something sarcastic like that. Of course I didn’t think that. It’s just that unless most people if they are not using a major credit card & want that high of a hold on there as well. I can’t see them doing this. As to have that much at least for me being held from my checking does not work for me.

        • El_Chuletas

          I have 3 major credit card, my American express is 30,000 limit. When I go to Mexico I have to rent a car, they put 15,000 dls hold for the vehicle

        • landmarkcm

          Lol. Ok & good for you. :)

        • ChitChatCat

          Yikes. That’s a hell of a hold.

        • twicetheprice

          Yeah the hold might suck or not be feasible for some, but TMo has to protect itself If they instead did a $100 hold, you would have people getting iPhones for $100 and never returning them.

        • KingCobra

          If you’re card can’t sustain a $700 hold for a week then you probably shouldn’t be looking at iPhone anyway.

        • landmarkcm

          Lol. Ya ok. Some peoples comments are really baffling. IF I wanted an iPhone, Which I don’t. I am sure you know there are great deals to be found on them. I have used Tmobile several times already anyway & thought I may try them again. But you shouldn’t assume that if I cant afford to have 700.00 all at once as a hold right now (a lot of middle class people cannot) that the Iphone is not for me. It’s not even worth that much to begin with. Tmobile is marking up the price. Even buying at full retail the 5S can be found several places at under 500.00

        • Ben

          “But you shouldn’t assume that if I cant afford to have 700.00 all at once as a hold right now (a lot of middle class people cannot) that the Iphone is not for me.”

          If that is the case, it is not for the vast majority of people. The same goes for other $600+ phones. If you have less than $1000 of rotating credit available, you generally have other things to be worrying about than saving up for a superphone. If you have that little credit because you choose to, even that I would consider a mistake (i.e. you have an emergency that requires a credit card, like renting a car or buying a plane ticket).

        • landmarkcm

          Your comment makes no sense either. If I was to buy an Iphone (which I have had two of them before) I would not be paying full retail price for it. Which I beleive it is overpriced anyway and besides I prefer Android. All that besides the point. My comment was simply replying because the other person was making it seem as if you have to be in a certain class of wealth or something to that effect to own an IPhone. I as a whole regardless of how much money I have do not believe in general in having to save up for a phone that much money. When there are so many better deals to be had. That’s all. As this is a bit of a ridiculous conversation now.

        • Dakota

          And that’s the problem with most of America and why people are in so much debt. Wants vs needs. Get an iPhone to try to look cool for someone else or buy necessities of life. Priorities people. You dont NEED an iPhone

        • landmarkcm

          Haha. I like your other comment about credit vs debit. But this one is again is silly to me. Yes I get the want vs needs thing But I guess Yall aren’t really reading the context of what I put regarding the “iPhone” in general.. You don’t have to be rich or living above your means to have one! is the only point I was making. It can be had for the same deals as Android devices etc. And I wouldn’t get another one myself just to look “cool” lol. I guess some of course may though.

        • eneka

          Yup…how else is T-Mobile going g to trust you if you can’t have a hold for $700. Sure $700 is a lot of money but if you’re maxing out your credit cards/can’t get a card with a higher limit than that then you’re simply not going to be able to participate in the program because you are too.much of a risk for them

        • Dakota

          That’s why they suggest a credit card and not a debit. I dont see a way around that but I guess a lot of people may have a low limit that couldn’t even sustain a week long hold of that amount

  • bob90210

    Apple already has a better test drive program than the one launched with T-Mobile. Simply go to the Apple store and buy a brand new iPhone. You have 14 days to return it for a full refund with no questions asked. This way you get to try a new phone (instead of a refurbished phone) and you get to keep it if you decide you like it.

    • crt24

      And apple is supplying the service as well?

    • schweddyballs

      But then you have to sign up for service with tmobile, test drive does both

    • THE D

      This is for people to try out T-Mobiles Network not to try an iPhone.

      • randian

        Actually, it works for either purpose (testing T-Mobile, testing iPhone).

    • Dakota

      But you’d have to switch your number to that phone wouldnt you? Otherwise if you decide to keep it, you’d be stuck with a new number. But like States below this is a Tmobile program… I still think Samsung or an Android carrier should figure out a way to match Apple because many people are going to use it to test and iPhone… Plus with Apple, you’re charged up front.. Vs a plain hold

  • Dakota

    It’s supposed to be 2 day delivery. I might do it to play with am iPhone for a week when I have time as well as seeing if the Tmobile LTE network has improved since I left the carrier

  • Winski

    Cam…

    Can you or one of your contacts verify that T-Mobile has INCREASED it’s try-it-you’ll-like-it program to 30-days, up from 7 (seven) days, to mimic Sprints new program?? I was told directly from a TMOB Mgr that that provision was added on Monday??

    Thanks for your assistance is advance!!

  • Pat

    Being a Verizon customer hating the high costs, decided to try T Mobile out as their monthly would be half of Verizon. Signed up on Sunday evening and just got the iPhone 5s Test Drive phone and guess what – dead! No power up, no reset, no charging. Went thru 20 minutes on the phone with 3 T Mobile reps and all of them were unable to help. Told to go to a corporate T Mobile store and the managers at both said they are resellers not corporate stores like the wrong map info that T Mobile says is current… SO what do I do ? Wait for them to send me a new one ? Who do I call for that ? I don’t want to hear from 3 other reps saying they can’t do anything…. Geessh not a good way to have a potential customer experience the trouble side of cellular!

    • thatguy

      Stupid iphone