T-Mobile Offers Seven-Day IPhone Test Drives

T-Mobile US Inc., seeking to lure users away from rivals, will give prospective customers a seven-day test drive on Apple Inc.’s newest iPhones for no charge.

Starting June 23, people can try T-Mobile’s service free for a week, as long as they have a credit card and live in the U.S. That lets consumers see whether they like the company’s network speed and coverage without having to switch from their current provider. The offer may help T-Mobile grab some of the attention from Amazon.com Inc.’s phone partnership with rival AT&T Inc., announced earlier today.

While it is the smallest of the four U.S. wireless carriers, T-Mobile, led by Chief Executive Officer John Legere, has been growing the fastest. Legere, a self-styled rebel, has branded T-Mobile the un-carrier and gained subscribers by making aggressive moves like financing phone purchases and buying out contract penalties for customers that switch service.

Since Bellevue, Washington-based T-Mobile has trailed AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc. in network upgrades, Legere is pushing the company to catch up. The company now has its fastest long-term evolution, or LTE, network in 16 cities after introducing the technology late last year in Dallas, it said today.

“This not only gives people a test drive of our network, it gives them a test drive of the Apple iPhone 5s,” Legere said in an interview today. “The big guys want to force you to make a quick decision and live with it for two years. That’s the business model. They don’t want you to take a test drive. We want to change that.”

Apple agreed to provide T-Mobile with the demo phones. After seven days, the trial service is shut off and users can return the phones to a T-Mobile store, said Clint Patterson, a T-Mobile spokesman.

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