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T-Mobile partners with Apple to offer free week-long iPhone 5s 'test drive' to nab potential...

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Ahead of T-Mobile's "Un-Carrier 5.0" event on Wednesday, CEO John Legere said his company is partnering with Apple to give potential customers a free iPhone 5s with unlimited data to "test drive" on its network for one week.


T-Mobile CEO John Legere at the Un-Carrier 5.0 event. | Source: T-Mobile


In an interview with Re/code, Legere outlined the "7-night stand" program, saying users simply sign up online, use the phone for a week and return it to a any T-Mobile store once the trial period is over. The company plans to have the initiative up and running next week.

"You (can) have a 7-night stand," Legere said. "You cheat on your carrier and it's free."

The T-Mobile chief estimates more than one million people will take advantage of the offer within the first year of availability. According to the publication, Apple is supplying "tens of thousands" of iPhone 5s units to the carrier as part of the partnership.

Additionally, when Apple releases the next iPhone, T-Mobile will upgrade the offer to whatever the latest models handset is available.

Those interested in taking up T-Mobile on its 7-night stand offer can visit t-mobile.com/testdrive on the company's website starting June 23. The sign-up process requires a valid credit card before the unit ships and potential customers are allowed one test drive period per year.
post #2 of 36
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
After the one-week trial period, they can drop off the iPhone 5s at any T-Mobile store.

 

Can, but how many will? T-Mobile just created a job market for thousands of muscular "repo" men.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Can, but how many will? T-Mobile just created a job market for thousands of muscular "repo" men.
Not sure how well they thought that threw, can see 100s stolen now daily.
post #4 of 36

Uh, a credit or debit card is necessary for the test drive. Just like a rental car. 

 

Here's the exact language from the T-Mobile site:

 

Quote:

Do I neet a credit card to participate?

 

"Yes, to ensure the devices are returned, we’ll hold a credit or debit card that will be charged if the device is not returned. The credit card is the only method we are setting up to handle these charges, we will not have a system for accepting cash, checks or any other form of payment/deposit. However, if the device is returned damaged, the Test Drive participant can pay the damage fee in store using any form of payment they wish."

 

You don't return on time, you pay for the device. The card on file also can be charged for any damages incurred.


Edited by mpantone - 6/18/14 at 6:58pm
post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post
 

Uh, most likely a credit card and government-issued ID would be necessary for the test drive. Just like a rental car. 

 

You don't return on time, you pay for the device.

Yes, CC will put a hold for up to 14 days for X amount.. and customer is on hook even if card is canceled since it happened prior.. So even though T-Mo isn't charging right away, they are 'reserving' the amount... 

 

It's not as big of a risk as you'd think..

post #6 of 36
what a great idea.

i've already ported one number away from my at&t family account to another carrier so that line is able to take advantage of better coverage in the area it's used, and for better pricing for better service.

i'm waiting until the 3rd or 4th of july -- the end of my billing cycle -- to port my remaining two numbers to t-mobile. i'll do the test drive for a few days just to see if there are any negatives ... but unless the thing burns down my house i can't imagine it'll influence me to not want to move to t-mobile. at&t is a horrible company. t-mobile is probably not far behind, but at least they're not at&t (or comcast.)

what would also be great is if they just offered a sim; i have an unlocked phone.
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post #7 of 36
If their network is up to the task, it's a pretty smart move.

I'm on AT&T & quite satisfied overall (as satisfied as you can be knowing everyone in America is getting screwed on their mobile plan) but this would give me the opportunity to check out TM's coverage where I work and live.

I'm betting most people taking a test drive will switch.
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post

T-mobile is probably not far behind, but at least they're not at&t (or comcast.)

Comcast as a mobile phone company... the thought is too horrible to contemplate.

You'd have go to their store, but the doors would all be locked, so they'd expect you to wait there for a salesman to arrive sometime between 1 and 6PM.
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vaporland View Post

If their network is up to the task, it's a pretty smart move.

I'm on AT&T & quite satisfied overall (as satisfied as you can be knowing everyone in America is getting screwed on their mobile plan) but this would give me the opportunity to check out TM's coverage where I work and live.

I'm betting most people taking a test drive will switch.

It is a good idea because it gives people a chance to test the T-Mobile network performance with no strings attached.

 

I've used both the AT&T and T-Mobile networks as a direct customer (prepaid service) and have used MVNOs running off of both networks.

 

Without a doubt, AT&T has a wider coverage area, but if you spend most of your time in dense metropolitan areas, T-Mobile's LTE and 4G HSPA+ service is typically faster than AT&T's. The problem with T-Mobile are localized spots with poor coverage. Even if you get great LTE service two blocks away from your house, it doesn't help you when you are home. This trial program gives people the opportunity to figure out if T-Mobile's network is "good enough" for the places where they normally find themselves using a phone.

 

Despite the gaps in T-Mobile's coverage, it works for me in the places where I find myself most frequently. Plus, I'm only shelling out $30/month (taxes/surchages included) with the old 4G Monthly prepaid plan: 100 min. voice, unlimited text, unlimited data (5GB at 4G/LTE speeds). No AT&T plan comes close.

post #10 of 36
I might give this a go if they offer it for the 8th ten iPhone immediately after it's launched.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

Not sure how well they thought that threw, can see 100s stolen now daily.

They put a hold on your CC for the amount of the device.

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post #11 of 36

Nice opportunity to upgrade existing T-Mobile customers too. Legere also pitched the test drive as an opportunity for people using older or competing devices on T-Mobile's network to try the "latest and greatest" iPhone, currently the 5s. They seemed to hint that this test drive program will move over to the newer iPhone model when it comes out. Apparently, Apple is providing the test drive phones to T-Mobile for free.

 

Very smart all the way around, because it removes yet another barrier to switching carriers, while also removing a barrier to switching smartphones. No service sign-up, no device activation, no restocking fees, etc. They send you a phone to try out, and at the end of the test period, you return it to a local T-Mobile store. Nothing other than a credit card preauthorization (as someone said, no different than renting a car).

 

T-Mobile's biggest liability has been their network coverage, or at least the perception of their network. This at least gives T-Mobile the opportunity to let the customer try the network for themselves to see if things have improved in their area, without having to commit anything up front.

 

Legere said that among the major carriers, T-Mobile has the lowest iPhone penetration and its customers have the lowest awareness that the iPhone is available on their network. So, this is also a huge opportunity for Apple to make inroads with a rapidly growing carrier that has a large untapped customer base.


Edited by Woochifer - 6/18/14 at 7:39pm
post #12 of 36

Oh and one of the questions during the Q&A was why does the test drive exclude Samsung and Android?

 

Legere said that they approached Apple with the idea, and Apple said yes. Apple and T-Mobile both also saw a need to increase the iPhone's market penetration on T-Mobile's network, so that's the other reason why the test drive program only includes Apple for the time being.

 

Knowing the myopic tech press (which Legere seems to enjoy picking on), their headlines tomorrow  will be:

T-Mobile CEO to Android Users: DROP DEAD! or

 

Apple Resorts to Handing Out FREE iPhones as T-Mobile Customers Stay Away in Droves! or

 

T-Mobile Screws Samsung by Taking Apple Bribes! or

 

T-Mobile Hates Its Customers: New Test Drive Excludes The WORLD'S FAVORITE MOBILE OS!

post #13 of 36
Good deal. Most cell carriers in my area have been spotty coverage for the most part but I just made the switch to T-Mobile from Verizon couple months ago for the cost and unlimited data. Still a couple spotty places but 97% of all the places I go is great coverage. Plus I also have one of their towers very close to my house so coverage is great and alleviated one of my biggest concerns. I'd recommend giving it a shot. I'm saving $60 a month and can use all the data I want.
post #14 of 36
I'm impressed, it's a great idea.
post #15 of 36

This gives a bunch of Android users the opportunity to try out the iPhone and see if they like it enough to switch. A great marketing plan by Apple.

post #16 of 36
You know, Volkswagen tried this with their Jetta back in the late 80s or early 90s. A nationally-advertised, week-long test drive... I and my wife gave it a whirl, but it didn't result in a purchase.

I noticed VW only ran this promotion once. I wonder why they dropped it.

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post #17 of 36
Perhaps it's due to editing but this guy doesn't give me confidence that T-Mobile knows what they are doing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PScooter63 View Post

You know, Volkswagen tried this with their Jetta back in the late 80s or early 90s. A nationally-advertised, week-long test drive... I and my wife gave it a whirl, but it didn't result in a purchase.

I noticed VW only ran this promotion once. I wonder why they dropped it.

There are some major differences between. One, an iPhone costs a lot less than a Jetta and the user still has to pony up the price of the device for the Test Drive. Two, this test is about the T-Mobile network not the iPhone.

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post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Perhaps it's due to editing but this guy doesn't give me confidence that T-Mobile knows what they are doing.

At least he knows he's out of his mind. Self awareness is an important step. 1wink.gif
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post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

At least he knows he's out of his mind. Self awareness is an important step. 1wink.gif

What are you implying? I'm not crazy! Who said I'm crazy? 1tongue.gif


He' passionate, which I like, but I also like a more balanced and longterm approach to business. That's a big reason I like what Tim Cook is doing.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Uh, a credit or debit card is necessary for the test drive. Just like a rental car. 

Here's the exact language from the T-Mobile site:


You don't return on time, you pay for the device. The card on file also can be charged for any damages incurred.

"Oops I lost my credit card. Please issue me a new one"
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post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
There are some major differences between. One, an iPhone costs a lot less than a Jetta and the user still has to pony up the price of the device for the Test Drive. Two, this test is about the T-Mobile network not the iPhone.

 

I was comparing marketing campaigns, not the products they're hawking.  I would argue that the marketing approach is very similar, even if the specific devices are not.

 

And closer to the point, I wonder if WV learned something from their experience that T-Mobile has yet to discover, that led VW to never do this again.

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post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by PScooter63 View Post

I was comparing marketing campaigns, not the products they're hawking.  I would argue that the marketing approach is very similar, even if the specific devices are not.

And closer to the point, I wonder if WV learned something from their experience that T-Mobile has yet to discover, that led VW to never do this again.

I understand that he marketing approaches are similar but my point is there are inherent differences that make this less of a risk for T-Mobile and gives customers a chance to experience something they might not otherwise be able to test. For example, I can go into any car dealership and test drive pretty much any car I want. Not for a week and VW was clearly looking to get customers attached in that week, but with a cell phone network it can be more tricky and using an in-store demo isn't going to cut it.

Anecdotally, I made the foolish mistake of jumping back to AT&T from Verizon with the iPhone 5S. I didn't do any research to see if AT&T had finally brought LTE to my area so I've pretty much had zero LTE coverage for 2500 square miles (50×50 miles) for the past year as well as noticeably worse voice calls. I don't like making voicing calls so I keep them to a minimum but when I do I would like them to sound decent. I do have SV&D — which I love — but I'm not sure that's enough to overtake now being much slower than Verizon in my area, which wasn't case when Verizon didn't have LTE in my area.

But I digress*. I'd like to pony up the $750 to test the 8th gen iPhone on T-Mobile to see if that the performance and call quality are better than what I could get from AT&T and Verizon or if it's good enough for their price plans. Technically I could do this with any carrier but it means doing a typical return and even without a restocking fee and even though it's perfectly legal that just feels unethical.



* I can never figure out if the statement "but I digress" should come at the end of the tangent, beginning of primary subject again, or be its own sentence.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by randian View Post
 

This gives a bunch of Android users the opportunity to try out the iPhone and see if they like it enough to switch. A great marketing plan by Apple.

 

Except it isn't Apple's plan. It was T-Mobile's idea.

post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I understand that he marketing approaches are similar but my point is there are inherent differences that make this less of a risk for T-Mobile and gives customers a chance to experience something they might not otherwise be able to test. For example, I can go into any car dealership and test drive pretty much any car I want. Not for a week and VW was clearly looking to get customers attached in that week, but with a cell phone network it can be more tricky and using an in-store demo isn't going to cut it.
 

 

I get it, you're suggesting that the user experiences for each product might be so different, that the marketing angle is not directly comparable.

 

(For example, we didn't evaluate the Jetta at a drag strip during our extended loan.  But I digress.)

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post #25 of 36

I hope this offer exists when the iPhone 6 is introduced and both rumored sizes are indeed actual products.  Having a week to try of the 5.5" iPhone will allow me to make a more informed decision if that size is manageable or too damn big!

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post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

I hope this offer exists when the iPhone 6 is introduced and both rumored sizes are indeed actual products.  Having a week to try of the 5.5" iPhone will allow me to make a more informed decision if that size is manageable or too damn big!

I didn't even think about the different sizes, only testing the network. That would be a good way to see if that will work for me.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #27 of 36
Quote:
There are some major differences between. One, an iPhone costs a lot less than a Jetta and the user still has to pony up the price of the device for the Test Drive. Two, this test is about the T-Mobile network not the iPhone.

I would argue that it's just as much about the iPhone as it is T-Mobile's network. This is an ideal way for an Android user to test the iPhone to see if they want to switch. Checking it out in an Apple Store isn't nearly as useful because of the limited things you can do.

post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post
 

I hope this offer exists when the iPhone 6 is introduced and both rumored sizes are indeed actual products.  Having a week to try of the 5.5" iPhone will allow me to make a more informed decision if that size is manageable or too damn big!

I'm pretty sure Legere specifically said that they'll be switching this offer to the latest and greatest iPhone when it arrives.

post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I didn't even think about the different sizes, only testing the network. That would be a good way to see if that will work for me.

How is this any different than Apple's 30 day return policy, or every other carriers 14 day policy?
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post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

How is this any different than Apple's 30 day return policy, or every other carriers 14 day policy?

One is an unethical and douchie tactic that takes advantage of consumer protection laws and the other is a marketing tactic designed by a company to get more people interesting in their particular service.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

How is this any different than Apple's 30 day return policy, or every other carriers 14 day policy?

No restocking fee and no cost for the airtime/data you used.

post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by randian View Post

No restocking fee and no cost for the airtime/data you used.

Gotcha. What's going to happen to those millions of iPhones used for a week? Can't sell them as new.
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post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by randian View Post

No restocking fee and no cost for the airtime/data you used.

1) Apple dropped restocking fees back in 2011.

2) AT&T states that if you return the device within 3 days of signing the contract you can get back the Activation Fee, yet the next sentence states that you will owe all fees as noted on the contract so I'm not sure if that's some slimy writing to make sure they get the $35 or if there are additional considerations on that contract for returning within that 3 day period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Gotcha. What's going to happen to those millions of iPhones used for a week? Can't sell them as new.

1) I don't they expect that to happen and it's definitely hard to get people to jump blindly into a new carrier so I think it's a good tactic assuming their network is good enough.

2) Sure, any returns will not be new but the after market for the ones that are returned is good, but it doesn't really matter if it's zero if the net yield is financially positive for gaining new users.

3) Let's be clear that T-Mobile has decided to take that risk which means they are choosing to eat that cost of a return, unless the 14 and 30 day return policies which are to legally protect consumers.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Gotcha. What's going to happen to those millions of iPhones used for a week? Can't sell them as new.

T-Mobile never said that you'd get a brand-new iPhone to test drive. They would simply send the returned ones out again once they had been inspected for damage and reset to factory settings. Thus, you could very easily get a lightly used test drive unit.

 

It is likely that part of the partnership allows T-Mobile to send back cosmetically damaged units to Apple's refurbishing service for a new battery and chassis.

 

It is also quite probable that T-Mobile would be working with a stock of refurbished iPhones, Lightning cables, and AC chargers to start with. It is unlikely that they would send out any brand-new iPhone in full retail packaging.


Edited by mpantone - 6/19/14 at 7:21pm
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


How is this any different than Apple's 30 day return policy, or every other carriers 14 day policy?

You're not purchasing anything or signing any contracts. Even with return policies and early cancellation privileges, it's still a big psychological barrier to purchase a device and sign a long and complicated contract. Sending someone an iPhone with unlimited data and voice minutes without making an actual purchase (a credit preauthorization is different simply because no official transaction occurs if you return the phone) is a much easier decision than forking over real money and signing a real contract.

 

When I was piecing together an audio system, the specialty stores in my area allowed me to "borrow" their demo units for home trial. They would preauthorize a credit card for the full purchase price of the component, and I would sign the slip. After trying the components out at home, the store would hand the credit slip back to me when I return them. Psychologically, this is way easier than actually purchasing something just to try it out at home. Even with generous return policies, it's still more of a hassle, because the store already took your money and you're bringing something back to get that money back. The stores that allowed me to "borrow" their demo units and try the out at home without taking my money up front wound up getting my business.

 

With audio components, something that sounds one way at a retail store might sound way different at home. That's why you don't want to buy without trying. Cell phones are sort of similar in that the reception or data speed might be fine in-store, but you bring the phone home and you might find the network quality differs a lot. T-Mobile's supposed weakness is their network, so this is their way of leveling the playing field. And with Apple, they have not made as strong a market penetration with T-Mobile as they would like, so allowing free trials of the iPhone 5s works to Apple's benefit as well.

 

T-Mobile's goal is 1 million test drives. Will be interesting to see how many of those test drives wind up switching carriers, and how many of them wind up switching phones. I'm happy with the 5s, but I will still gladly test drive an iPhone 6 just to see if the new phone's compelling and if I find the new form factor tolerable (I already view the 5s as somewhat larger than ideal).

post #36 of 36
Following on the heels of Motorola's free MotoX "test drive" followed by T-Mo's free iPhone test drive, Samsung rolls out their own 21-day program. Of course they did. 1rolleyes.gif
http://www.samsungmobileuspress.com/2014/06/26/Samsung-Launches-Consumer-Trial-Program-at-Five-U.S.-Galaxy-Studio-Locations
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