Furthering its reputation as the "uncarrier," T-Mobile on Wednesday launched a streaming music service with Rhapsody and debuted a program that will give its wireless customers unlimited music streaming on select services without it counting against their data plans. In addition, the carrier said it will let potential customers test-drive an iPhone 5S with unlimited data for free for seven days without any obligations.
T-Mobile's so-called "un-CEO" John Legere said 17 million customers have flocked to the wireless company since it launched its "Uncarrier" campaign in 2013, which offers contract-free plans, subsidy-free phones, and options to upgrade devices early.
Its new app Rhapsody Unradio is an ad-free music streaming service that comes with unlimited skips and offline listening. The service will be available free for T-Mobile customers with unlimited data plans. T-Mobile users on other plans will be charged $4 a month, and non-T-Mobile customers can subscribe for $4.99.
After noticing a sixfold increase in music streaming on its network, T-Mobile decided to let all its customers stream music for free from the following services: Pandora, Rhapsody, Slacker, iTunes Radio, Spotify, Milk Music, iHeartRadio, and Beatport Music, which has yet to launch. Customers can also vote online to include their favorite services in the Music Freedom program.
With its test-drive promotion—7-Night Challenge—Legere is encouraging wireless users to "cheat on their carriers." They will have to provide a credit card number to partake in the promotion, which begins Monday, but will not be charged anything if they return the phone within a week.
"Our competitors don't get this is not just a phone," Legere said from the Paramount Theater in Seattle. "Our competitors were created when what you got this [referring to a smartphone in his hand] for was to make a phone call. That's not the world we're in anymore."
Poking fun of competitors Verizon and AT&T, Legere said T-Mobile customers on average use 69% more data than Verizon subscribers and 100% more than AT&T users. "Why don't AT&T and Verizon offer unlimited data plans?" he asked, laying out the following options: "A. They can't, B. they're greedy bastards—or my favorite, C. both."
To cap off its Uncarrier event—which was moved from Los Angeles to Seattle to piggyback off Amazon's Fire phone launch—T-Mobile is hosting a Macklemore & Ryan Lewis concert later this evening. The great backstory here is that Legere was kicked out of an event AT&T hosted at the Consumer Electronics Show back in January. The headliner: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.