In a bid to change that narrative, the company on Wednesday is pulling out an old move from its "un-carrier" playbook: giving interested non-T-Mobile users a free Wi-Fi hotspot and 30GB of data to use on its LTE network for 30 days.
"The T-Mobile in the past isn't the T-Mobile network of today," Sarah Osmer, T-Mobile's vice president of customer and business management, told CNET.
As part of the new offering, those who are curious about T-Mobile simply need to head to a T-Mobile store or go to T-Mobile's Test Drive website and request a hotspot. There is no cost and the company isn't asking for a credit card or credit check. The carrier is just asking for your name, phone number, home address and email, which T-Mobile says it won't use for marketing purposes.
When you're done with the hotspot, which will stop working once the 30 days are up or once you hit the 30GB cap (whichever comes first), you can return it to a T-Mobile store, give it to a friend -- who can request a different SIM card and start a separate test -- or just keep it.
The hotspot is a Coolpad Surf, a no-frills 4G LTE hotspot that regularly retails for $72. While lacking in features like a screen, it does support T-Mobile's low-band 600MHz spectrum designed for wider coverage and better support in buildings.
"We really are asking anyone who is interested, no matter where they live across the US, to try T-Mobile," Osmer said.
T-Mobile previously offered the Test Drive program in 2014, giving those interested the opportunity to use an iPhone 5S for seven days. Osmer says that the company found people preferred to keep their regular number and phone, which is why it's offering the hotspot option this go-round.
While the SIM won't work if it's put in a phone or tablet, Osmer says the company is also looking into offering an eSIM option that will allow those with a recent device like an iPhone XS to try its service through that method. That offering, however, won't be available today.