T-Mobile Raises The Stakes To Get You To Switch

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- T-Mobile (TMUS) really wants to be the cellular provider of choice, and is trying almost anything it can do to make that happen -- even if it comes at a huge cost.

With its new Uncarrier 5.0 initiative, T-Mobile and CEO John Legere is offering two new features it hopes will make an impression with customers. The first is known as Test Drive, where T-Mobile will lend potential customers an Apple (APPL) iPhone 5s to try it out and test out T-Mobile's updated 4G network. The carrier has been improving its wideband LTE data speeds across the country. Following that, the customer has the phone for a full seven days, after which it has to be returned to any T-Mobile store or the customer can purchase a new iPhone and service plan.

T-Mobile shares was gaining 1.03% to $33.02 in midday trading in New York.

Kevin Burden of StrategyAnalytics believes T-Mobile has its work cut out for it. "There is nothing new about test driving a network before subscribing, except that it's 2014 and most operators stopped offering trials years ago," Burden said in an interview. "Getting a high-end loaner device to operate the test drive is a nice twist that should get users excited and could potentially benefit Apple even more than T-Mobile, since the operator is running the risk that its users verify their fears that T-Mobile's network doesn't cover their area well at all."

T-Mobile has been able to gain attention for its network, but it's come at a cost. In the first quarter of 2014, the company boasted a total net additions of 2.4 million users, marking the first quarter ever with more than 2 million net additions. IDC Research analyst Carrie MacGillvray believes T-Mobile UnCarrier 5.0 offerings are more about current customers rather than attracting new ones. She think these new offers could go a long way to help satisfy its paying customers and relieve any "pain points" they might be experiencing with the service.

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