SEATTLE (AP) — T-Mobile is jumping into the music streaming game with a price and a package of features that set it apart.
At its "Un-carrier" event Wednesday, the fourth-ranked mobile carrier said customers of its Simple Choice plan will be able to stream music from popular services like Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio and Slacker without it eating into their high-speed data caps.
It also unveiled a new service called unRadio that features streaming Internet radio without ads. The service provided by Rhapsody lets users skip tracks an unlimited number of times and download 25 songs to the device for playback after marking them as favorites when they come up randomly.
T-Mobile's highest-tier customers will get unRadio for free. It's $4 a month for other T-Mobile subscribers and $5 a month otherwise.
"It's designed to be a better Internet radio," T-Mobile CEO John Legere told The Associated Press. He said the main problem with Internet radio services like Pandora is that people dislike the ads and are afraid they'll burn through their data plans by listening to music on the go.
Rhapsody's chief financial officer, Ethan Rudin, said in an interview that the move should help it add paying subscribers to the 1.7 million it has now by bridging the gap between free Internet radio and on-demand subscription plans that cost $10 a month.
"We felt there was a gap in Internet radio and no one has taken the time to get it right," he said.
T-Mobile also announced it will allow people to take home the latest iPhone 5S for a seven-day free trial so they can see if they get good reception at their home and office.
The company said customers can sign up for a trial online starting Monday, and they'll receive a phone in the mail a few days later. After the test period, the phone will become inoperable. Customers that don't return them to stores will be charged $700.
T-Mobile calls the test a "seven-night stand."
"We think everybody should cheat on their carrier," Legere said.
T-Mobile announced the free trial program at the event it dubbed "Un-carrier 5.0" and unveiled the music twist immediately afterward in an announcement Legere called "Un-carrier 6.0."