T-Mobile test drive good / bad

In Massachusetts we always suffered from poor phone service, and as bad as service was at our home there, it was worse at work. Now that we’ve moved, I’ve wondered if there’s a better choice than AT&T which we’ve had for a long time now.
AT&T actually works quite well at our new home, and their pricing has improved dramatically in the last year, but they are still a bit of a devil company … I was interested in T-Mobile since their pricing is even more competitive and they offer great international service. And then recently T-Mobile launched Test Drive which seemed like a perfect way to find out just how good their service is.

Today, the package arrived – an iPhone 5 already configured and ready to try; the T-Mobile website claims “good” coverage, so I was hopeful:

So, open the box (which curiously implies that I’m agreeing to T-Mobile cancellation terms), turn on the phone, and skip all the sign up / configuration stuff. At least I tried to: the phone refused to work unless I either gave it a WiFi connection, or linked it to my computer! I wanted to do neither, since this was a short term test, but I was forced to connect it to my guest WiFi.
As soon as the phone was working and showing T-Mobile service, I disabledĀ the WiFi connection; then a text arrived from T-Mobile with a “how to set up” link, so I clicked it … and this happened:

As you see, it’s showing EDGE data, and it’s been like this for maybe five minutes now with no progress. It did at one point show 4G, but didn’t get data to the display, till I walked to a front window of the house – closer to the antenna towers presumably. But seeing as my office is in the back, that’s no good.

I then tried phoning the office; Letizia answered and was pausing a lot when I explained I was just testing the phone service – she explained that she could hardly hear me, I was breaking up a lot.

So that was the end of T-Mobile Test Drive. Did the factory reset on the phone, put it back in the box, and will return it.

I very much like the idea of the Test Drive and I wish that all the companies did something similar – but sadly, T-Mobile remains useless outside of densely populated areas.

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