Digits, the T-Mobile service that lets you share a phone number across multiple phones, smartwatches, and PCs, is finally hitting public airwaves. After a lengthy beta period that began in December, T-Mobile is making Digits available to all current and new postpaid, prepaid, and business subscribers starting May 31.
“T-Mobile customers can use Digits wherever they want,” Evan Feldman, T-Mobile’s Digits product director, told Digital Trends. “We’re making it available to all customers.”
Digits is sort of like call forwarding on steroids. Messages and phone calls are delivered simultaneously to any connected phones, tablets, computers, and smartwatches, with all Digits devices ringing at once. Call history, messages, and voicemails are collated in a single dashboard that can be viewed from any PC or smartphone.
Subscribers won’t have to opt into Digits manually. All existing T-Mobile numbers will effectively become Digits numbers, and they’ll gain a new feature: Number sharing. Starting May 31, T-Mobile customers will be able to share a single numbers with other people. “My wife and I have it set up at home,” Feldman said. “We share the same home phone number.”
Digits, which T-Mobile said took “years” to develop, taps into the carrier’s robust cell network. It uses patent-pending network tech to authenticate subscribers through Digits instead of individual SIM cards, resulting in “carrier-grade” calling features with “crystal-clear” quality.
Digits works internationally (as long as you have data), too, and stores all messages, calls, and voicemails for up to three days.
“Our team dug deep into the technology needed to free us from the one number, one phone limit. And to do it right, we built a solution into the core of our network that breaks all of the old telco rules.” T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said in a press release. “To the carriers — and their telecom model — you’re just a SIM and a piece of hardware. With Digits, it’s all about you communicating the way you want. This opens up a new world of possibilities.”
Feldman characterized the Digits beta — the “first real beta in the wireless industry,” he said — as “really successful.” Tens of thousands of customers participated, and more than 96 percent used Digits numbers from non-phone devices like smartwatches, tablets, and PCs. “We saw a lot of people using it for home scenarios,” he said, “and a lot of smartwatches.”
“There was a lot of interest,” said Feldman. “Users provided hundreds of comments and insights, [which] really helped us make improvements and get to the bottom of edge cases.”
As a “thank you” to the subscribers who participated, T-Mobile is gifting an additional Digits line at no extra charge. (T-Mobile One Plus customers will get one, too.) Subscribers new to Digits on other rate plans will have to fork over $10 per month for an additional line, which includes calling, texting, and 512kbps of unlimited data.
T-Mobile sees Digits as an alternative to landlines and business numbers. Roughly 43 percent of U.S. landline subscribers say they’d cut the cord if they could keep their number, according to T-Mobile, and 31 percent of business owners carry two phones.
“[You can] assign Digits as your sales number so that, even when it rings, everyone in sales gets the call,” T-Mobile said. “Businesses can also keep those Digits — and all associated contacts and recent history — if an employee leaves.”
T-Mobile stresses that Digits is a long-term investment. It’ll continue to roll out new features over time, and solicit feedback from subscribers. “We’re testing different ways and different functionality,” Feldman said. “We have plans for more betas and features.”
The Digits app is available from the iTunes App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android devices. It’s compatible with Android devices running Android 5.0 and newer, iPhones and iPads running iOS 9.0 and newer, and Mac and Windows devices running Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Some Samsung devices integrate it natively. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and Galaxy Note 5 support multiple Digits lines, which you can use by heading to Settings, then Multiline Settings, and logging in with your T-Mobile ID.
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