T-Mobile revives Test Drive program with new mobile hotspot device


After appearing to have been put on hold for a few months, T-Mobile has brought back its Test Drive program and given it a new device.

T-Mobile’s Test Drive is available once again, as spotted by Reddit users this week, letting non-T-Mo customers try out the T-Mobile network free of charge. When the program was refreshed last year, T-Mo gave test drivers a free Coolpad Surf mobile hotspot, but now its handing out free Franklin T9 hotspot devices.

The Franklin T9 is a mobile hotspot with a small display to show signal strength, number of devices connected, battery level, and more. It supports up to 15 connections at once, has a 2450mAh battery that’s rated to last 8 hours on a single charge, and includes support for LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 25, 26, 41, 66, and 71.


The Test Drive program is open to non-T-Mobile customers who haven’t already taken a Test Drive in the past 6 months. It’s free to participate, and when you sign up, T-Mo will send you a Franklin T9 hotspot with up to 30GB of data for up to 30 days. Once you’re done, you can turn in the hotspot at a T-Mobile store or pass it on to a friend.

It’s not known why the Test Drive program was put on hold, but the coronavirus pandemic may have played a part in that move. It’s good to see Test Drive make a return, though, because it’s an easy way for anyone thinking about switching to T-Mobile to see what the network is really like in their area. Not only is it free, but the mobile hotspot allows them to keep using their current phone and phone number while they take T-Mo’s network for a test drive.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • Mark Kendrick

    I’d like to try a hotspot that can run on the sub 6 5G network, come on TMO

    • Joe

      I can tell you how it is because I have the s20+. Alot of the time it’s probably 10-20% faster than LTE in the same location. Also coverage has not grown much at all with sub 6 5G because the upload is LTE. Give it a year and than there 5G will hopefully be a bit more impressive, right now it’s not very impressive from speed or coverage.

      • Vinny

        I’m getting between 85 – 115 mb down & around 45 up depending on time of day. Don’t care when our if 5G gets here, VERY HAPPY with my service.

  • Mike

    Wow, up to 30 gig of data !! For free to try.. Thats alot of data. It’s actually more than what I have on my plan for hotspot. How about adding more hotspot for us current users? Maybe, like 30 gig?

  • billview

    This would be nice, but TMobile service is a 50 mile drive, literally. Wish ATT did that, they added transmitters to a tower only 6 miles away about a month ago. I wouldn’t mind testing for …free. Verizon was the only national provider here before then. Don’t think TMobile is in any hurry to cover much more of my state with native coverage.

  • Jonathan

    Does it have carrier aggregation?

  • John Wentworth

    Why would they give out a device that doesn’t support 5G? isn’t that all carriers BIG thing now?

    • Liam McBride

      Probably because the chips needed for 5G are a bit pricier than those that only support 4G

  • I tried T-Mobile last year and it was great about 70% of the time, but in the evenings and early morning the speed feel to a crawl and became unresponsive – presumably when everyone else got home from work. With 5G and the Sprint acquisition, there may be better coverage. Let me know when I can test 5G T-Mobile!

  • TheBud

    i think this is pretty good trial to give potential customers an idea of the coverage where they will be using t-mobile. But as someone else pointed out, this hotspot doesnt support 5g, so you dont get the real picture of your coverage. As such, just wish it would support 5g.