U.S. markets close in 43 minutes
  • S&P 500

    3,687.32
    +101.70 (+2.84%)
     
  • Dow 30

    29,559.76
    +834.25 (+2.90%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    10,848.67
    +273.05 (+2.58%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,714.80
    +50.08 (+3.01%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    83.31
    +3.82 (+4.81%)
     
  • Gold

    1,706.20
    +34.20 (+2.05%)
     
  • Silver

    20.69
    +1.65 (+8.67%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    0.9811
    +0.0010 (+0.10%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    3.6510
    -0.1530 (-4.02%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.1304
    +0.0137 (+1.23%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    144.7760
    +0.0470 (+0.03%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    19,534.41
    +221.93 (+1.15%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    443.79
    +8.43 (+1.94%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,908.76
    +14.95 (+0.22%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    26,215.79
    +278.58 (+1.07%)
     

T-Mobile debuts plan to let you test its network without having to switch

·Technology Editor
·3 min read

T-Mobile (TMUS) is trying to make it easier for customers to figure out whether or not it's worth switching to its network.

The company today announced its new Network Pass program that lets users test T-Mobile’s data network without having to ditch their existing carrier.

The move is a clear attempt to lure over customers who are curious about switching from Verizon (VZ) or AT&T (T), but are nervous that doing so will mean slower or no connectivity where they work and live. After all, if you can’t get a connection in the good office bathroom, why bother switching at all?

Part of the company’s main app, the Network Pass feature takes advantage of the eSIMs found in most modern smartphones. ESIMS are built-in, reprogrammable versions of the classic thumbnail-sized SIM card you probably have in your smartphone right now. With eSIMS, however, everything is digital, allowing users to quickly and seamlessly swap wireless carriers.

A T-Mobile connected iPhone is shown on display in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A T-Mobile connected iPhone is shown on display in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

For the Network Pass feature to work, T-Mobile sets itself up as your data provider on your eSIM, while you continue to use your existing provider for talk and text. You still keep your number under your existing carrier, and T-Mobile handles your network connection for 90 days for free.

The idea is to give you a sense of how well T-Mobile’s network compares to your current provider’s service without forcing you to make the switch first.

T-Mobile also says that the app will make it easier for users to make a full switch to their service if they choose to do so via eSIM technology, meaning you don’t have to stop by a T-Mobile store to make the change.

There’s a catch, however. In order to take advantage of the Network Pass test, you’ll need an unlocked device. T-Mobile specifically called out AT&T for locking its phones, but offered an in-app explainer on how to unlock them.

You’ll also need to ensure that your phone has an eSIM. While most new phones have them, if you’re rocking an older device like an iPhone 8, you won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

T-Mobile made headlines last week when it announced that it is teaming with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to provide subscribers with access to voice and text connectivity via SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. The plan is to ensure users are able to place calls or send messages regardless of whether they are within reach of cellular towers.

Don’t expect to start streaming Netflix or Disney+ from the middle of the Pacific, though. The service, which is still far from ready for primetime, will cover the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, and parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico, and territorial waters.

Shares of T-Mobile are up 24% year-to-date, outstripping both Verizon and AT&T, which are off 18% and 4%, respectively.

Sign up for Yahoo Finance's Tech newsletter

More from Dan

Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

Click here for the latest technology business news, reviews, and useful articles on tech and gadgets

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Download the Yahoo Finance app for Apple or Android

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, and YouTube