T-Mobile launches free 30-day network trial: What you need to know

T-Mobile has rolled out a new free trial program in select cities that lets people try its network for 30 days with no hassles.

With this offer, you don’t have to depend on T-Mobile reviews from family and friends because you can test out the service for yourself to see if it’s reliable in your area.

Even better, you can keep your phone, apps and phone number without canceling your existing service during the trial.

RELATED: Sprint offers $25 unlimited plan to new customers

T-Mobile free 30-day trial offer: What you need to know before you sign up

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Right now, T-Mobile is offering the free network trial for 30 days or up to 30GB of data to customers of other wireless providers who live in Boston, Austin and Atlanta.

To make this happen, T-Mobile sends you a pocket-sized trial device that connects to your current phone.

I signed up for the offer online when it first launched. There were a few hiccups in the ordering process, but I’ve just received the free trial device and connected to T-Mobile’s network.

Here’s a step-by-step guide with more details on the free trial and how to get started…

1. Register for the free trial 

If you live in one of the three cities where the trial is taking place, you can register through T-Mobile’s website and they’ll send you the trial device in about two business days.

My online order didn’t go through, so I was able to place it over the phone by calling 833‑866‑4839.

To be clear, there’s absolutely no charge for the trial. Standard shipping is also free. I never had to give any payment information like a credit card number.

2. Connect the device to your phone 

When the package from T-Mobile showed up at my door, I opened it and found an Alcatel LINKZONE 4G LTE hotspot, which is the device that you connect to your phone.

Here’s how to set up the device for the free trial:

  1. Remove the back cover and insert the T-Mobile SIM card. There’s also a slot for an SD card, but there isn’t one included and you don’t need it.
  2. Install the battery that comes with the mobile hotspot.
  3. Before you close the back cover, write down the SSID (Wi-Fi name) and password that’s printed on it. This information will come in handy later on.
  4. Press the “Power” key for three seconds to turn the device on.
  5. Go to your cell phone’s Wi-Fi settings and choose the SSID of your new mobile hotspot. Enter the password from the back cover and connect to the network.

You’ll also have to keep the mobile hotspot nearby your phone during the trial period, so make sure that it’s fully charged, which can take between three and four hours.

Everything you need to charge the portable device is also included with your order.

3. Return the device 

After you’re connected to T-Mobile’s network, you can test it out for 30 days or until you’ve used 30GB of data, whichever comes first.

Once the trial has ended, just return the mobile hotspot to a T-Mobile store or pass it on to a family member or friend.

If you choose the second option, tell them to visit https://www.t-mobile.com/offers/free-trial to register and they’ll receive a new SIM card in the mail to reactivate the device.

Final thought 

If you like the network and want to sign up as a paying customer after the trial, compare T-Mobile’s unlimited plans with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other providers to make sure you pick the best one for you.

Don’t need unlimited data? You’ll find lots of affordable options in Clark’s cell phone plan guide.

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