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Published: Thu, December 08, 2016
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Mobile's Digits calling service is created to make phone numbers device agnostic

Mobile's Digits calling service is created to make phone numbers device agnostic

T-Mobile wants to "free" the phone number, and on Wednesday it came out with a new way to do so. While an aggressive pricing and marketing strategy is part of the reason for their success, another part of the reason is the rapid rate in which the network is advancing. "DIGITS is your real T-Mobile number with every bit of the reliability, call prioritization, services and mobility you expect".

Back in October 2015, rival carrier AT&T announced its NumberSync service that allows users to send and receive calls over multiple connected devices - including tablets and wearables - using their regular phone number. At the same time, the Uncarrier also allows users to put multiple T-Mobile numbers on the same device so they can use their personal and work number on a single device.

In the news room style vlog below, COO Mike Sievert and CTO Neville Ray give a fifteen minute run down on the details of the new program.

As of today, DIGITS is only launching in a limited beta program.

Digits appears to be a pretty sweet way to enable more convenient communication with your phone number.

And T-Mobile says it had to re-engineer its calling and identity management systems, with multiple pending patents covering the technology. T-Mobile is encouraging beta participants to turn off Apple's massively popular messaging platform for the smoothest experience, which might dissuade some people from trying it out in the first place and become a hurdle for adoption. Though not an unofficial "Un-carrier Move", Digits is the latest example of that ethos.

Digits can eliminate the need for separate business and personal phones, and can save businesses money by replacing office landline phones, the carrier said.

T-Mobile Digits example
T-Mobile Digits example. Image T-Mobile

The technology is already built into the newest Samsung smartphones (Note 5 and Galaxy S6 and later) and T-Mobile is working to integrate Digits into other devices. For those without native functionality, Digits can be enabled through an app on iOS or Android, and is accessible through a browser on PC and Mac computers. When you sign in with your phone number, you'll find your call history, messages and voicemail waiting for you on whichever device you logged on with.

Taken separately, the perks that T-Mobile Digits has to offer are not unheard of.

What's notable is that you can use Digits on any device, even non-T-Mobile devices, and that you can also use the service on devices running on a different network.

Digits is not only device-agnostic but also carrier-agnostic, as it also works on AT&T, Verizon and other smartphones.

Since the days of Alexander Graham Bell, the standard has been one number for one phone.

On a conference call with press, Sievert claimed that T-Mobile has worked up a superior option compared to Apple's Continuity, AT&T NumberSync (which "tacks on" to Continuity's ideas) and Google Voice. Digits will be released commercially for all customers early next year. To do so, you'll need to be a postpaid customer with a Simple Choice or T-Mobile One account in good standing.

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