Following AT&T’s decision to push its OEM partners to support FM radio chips in their devices, T-Mobile has decided to do the same.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere today Tweeted that the big magenta carrier is “saying yes to FM chip” and that they’ll push device makers to support the feature. The move is in response to a campaign from FM radio app maker NextRadio that began urging T-Mobile’s customers to ask for FM chip support earlier in August.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) August 14, 2015
The appeal of FM radio on smartphones is that it uses little to no data, which could be a big deal for some folks that are on metered data plans. For example, the NextRadio app claims to use 10 times less data than streaming apps, accessing cellular data only for images. The app does include a Tuner Only Mode if you want to use no data at all, though. FM radio also uses less battery than streaming, and it can still be used in areas where your cellular connection is poor.
Many phones released internationally come with an FM radio chip, but most of the devices released in the US are either missing that chip or have it disabled. Here’s to hoping that, now that AT&T and T-Mobile have announced support for FM radio chips, we’ll see others do the same so that FM chips are a common feature in US carrier-branded hardware.