During its latest UnCarrier event held last night, T-Mobile made more new announcements to drive more interest in its revitalized network, starting with the launch of a new Test Drive program available starting today. The program consists of a week-long trial with a refurbished Apple iPhone 5, but the trial will not let you keep the phone if you decide to sign up for T-Mobile. The trial also requires a credit card as the value of the device is placed as a hold for the duration of the trial and should the device be lost, damaged or stolen, T-Mobile will charge an additional $100 fee.
Following that announcement, T-Mobile has also announced that customers on Simple Choice plans will now receive unlimited access to the most popular music streaming services without being counted against monthly data access, which T-Mobile calls Music Freedom. Music Freedom access includes support for Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Milk, iTunes Radio, and BeatPort, with T-Mobile actively soliciting feedback through a new portal to add more music services based on demand as well as a custom version of Rhapsody called UnRadio. Like the Test Drive service, the Music Freedom service goes live today, but for those not on Simple Choice plans, Rhapsody UnRadio is an add-on priced at $4 monthly, but does not include Music Freedom access.
T-Mobile also confirmed more details regarding the state of its LTE network and the expansion of VoLTE, with , T-Mobile’s LTE network now covering 227 million people and reaching 230 million people by the end of the month; 250 million people are expected to be covered by the end of the year. T-Mobile will also finalize its LTE build-out across its current network footprint into 2015 and T-Mobile has also expanded the number of markets that offer VoLTE access to 16. T-Mobile claims that VoLTE is available to more than 100 million of its customers with the latest rollout on a total of four devices, with the Samsung Galaxy S5 being the latest VoLTE-capable smartphone with an over-the-air update to enable the service expected this week.
T-Mobile’s VoLTE rollout also supports HD Voice, which has had bandwidth increased to 24kbps, the theoretical maximum for the AMR-WB voice codec. Lastly, T-Mobile has expanded the reach of its wide-band LTE network, which uses 15+15MHz and 20+20MHz channel spectrum to improve capacity. T-Mobile now claims its wide-band LTE overlay is capable of delivering theoretical download speeds of 150Mbps in select areas.