Will T-Mobile’s New Promotions Give Apple a Leg Up on the Competition?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Two recently announced T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) promotions may help drive even more of the carrier’s subscribers into Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) ecosystem. At the company’s recent media event, T-Mobile CEO John Legere unveiled two initiatives that will make Apple’s iPhone and related services more attractive to consumers.

First, T-Mobile unveiled a new “Test Drive” program that allows customers to try out Apple’s iPhone 5S on the carrier’s network for seven days at no charge. While the program doesn’t kick off until June 23, Legere revealed in a blog post on Friday that over 12,000 people have already signed up for the program. According to Legere, T-Mobile’s network is specifically designed to be focused on delivering data to subscribers and it currently has “the nation’s fastest 4G LTE network.”

T-Mobile’s higher network capacity per customer and emphasis on data delivery is reflected in its customers’ higher data usage rates. At the company’s media event, Legere claimed that T-Mobile customers use 61 percent more data than the average Sprint (NYSE:S) customer, 69 percent more data than the average Verizon (NYSE:VZ) customer, and twice as much as the average AT&T (NYSE:T) customer, reports Electronista.  While the Test Drive program is geared toward introducing new customers to T-Mobile’s so-called “data-strong” network, it will also likely increase the number of Apple users, since the iPhone 5S is currently the only smartphone offered through the program.

According to T-Mobile, “There’s no cost. No hidden fees. No obligation.” However, there are several stipulations in the Test Drive program. Program participants must be at least eighteen years old and must order the device online. The device will be delivered via mail and the seven day trial period begins after the device has been signed for.

While there is no charge associated with the trial period, the program does require a credit card in order to ensure that the iPhone 5S is returned. The iPhone 5S must be returned in good condition to a T-Mobile retail store after the trial period has ended. Participants that don’t return the device will be charged the full $699.99 price of the iPhone 5S plus applicable taxes. Similarly, customers that return devices with water damage, cracked screens, or other problems will be charged a $100 damage fee.

Although individuals are only permitted to try out one iPhone 5S per billing address, businesses can try out multiple devices. Businesses are also allowed a longer trial period of two weeks.

Besides the Test Drive program that is exclusively for Apple’s iPhone 5S, T-Mobile is running another promotion that makes Apple’s iTunes Radio more likely to be used by the carrier’s subscribers. Under the “Music Freedom” program, subscribers can stream iTunes Radio without it counting against their data plans. However, unlike the Test Drive program, the Music Freedom program is not tied exclusively to Apple and is available for many other music services.  While it remains to be seen how many of the Test Drive participants will end up purchasing the iPhone 5S, the high number of pre-registration sign-ups suggests that T-Mobile’s promotions could give the Cupertino-based company a significant boost.

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