FM radio chips are pretty common in international smartphones, allowing users to tune in to terrestrial radio stations and not use up their often limited cellular data. However, those chips are often removed or disabled in phones released in the US. That could be changing soon for T-Mobile phones, though.
Today John Legere sent out a Tweet saying that T-Mobile is “saying yes to FM chip” and that the magenta carrier will “push our OEM partners to support!” The Tweet is in response to a campaign from NextRadio, a mobile app that lets you listen to radio stations on your smartphone, that called for T-Mobile customers to let Legere know that they wanted a working FM chip in their phones.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) August 14, 2015
As I mentioned before, using an FM chip to listen to radio on your phone doesn’t consume data like it does when you use an app like TuneIn Radio. NextRadio does note that it uses your data to retrieve “images and interactive content” with radio broadcasts, but that that uses less than 10 percent of the data that streaming radio does. NextRadio does have a Tuner Only Mode if you’d prefer to not use any data at all.
FM radio also has the benefit of not consuming as much battery life as content that’s streamed using cellular data.
It’s pretty awesome to see T-Mobile agree to push for the inclusion of FM radio chips in its phones. FM radio could come in handy in many situations, like when you’re trying to conserve data or you’re in an area with a poor cellular signal. Of course, it’s not terribly surprising that T-Mo backed the FM chip effort given past efforts like Music Freedom, but it’s great nonetheless.
Does your smartphone have an FM radio chip? If not, would you use it if it did?