T-Mobile will let you try its service for a month with your own phone and number—for free

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Wish you could put a wireless network to the test before ditching your current carrier?

On Wednesday, T-Mobile is bringing back Test Drive, an offering that will let you try T-Mobile's network for 30 days on your current phone with your own phone number.

You won't need to put any money down or go through the hassle of switching.

T-Mobile says that no questions will be asked if you choose to stick with AT&T, Verizon or Sprint after the trial period ends.

If you do decide to switch, you would then sign up for whichever current T-Mobile voice and data plan makes sense for you and your family; there are no special discounts for Test Drivers.

To the service, T-Mobile will send you a portable hotspot that taps into its 600 Mhz network from wherever you are: home, office, while commuting or even on vacation. That's the signal, T-Mobile says, that will form the foundation of its future 5G network.

T-Mobile currently covers 326 million people, or 99% of Americans with LTE. The company is awaiting word on whether its pending $26-billion merger with Sprint will go through. (Several states' attorneys oppose the deal.)

According to T-Mobile, 84% of people want to be able to try a wireless network before switching carriers, but that's not the common practice in the industry. T-Mobile CEO John Legere says the present way of doing things is "arrogant, it's broken and it's time for backwards-buying to end."

Testing the T-Mobile network is easier this time around

In 2014, when T-Mobile first offered a since discontinued version of Test Drive, you were only given a week to put the company's network through its paces. And you had to carry around a second device, the iPhone 5s T-Mobile lent you back then, which of course had a different number.

Under the latest offering, you not only get to use your current phone and number, but you can still employ AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or whichever service you have, to run comparisons against T-Mobile as you move about or to have service with your present carrier should the hotspot battery die.

Once the trial ends, T-Mobile says you can drop the hotspot off at a T-Mobile store, hand it to a friend so that they can try the or recycle it, for that matter.

T-Mobile is calling this a limited-time offer but hasn't specified how long it will last. And you'll get up to 30 days so long as you don't exceed 30GB of data, including 200MB of roaming. And sorry if you have designs on temporarily using the hotspot when you travel overseas, Test Drive is for domestic use only. ___


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