Mobile will free your number up for multiple devices

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. This means that you can use the same number across multiple internet-connected devices, including phones, tablets, PCs, and smartwatches, and your calls and texts will appear from the same number. T-Mobile says the service will also work internationally, allowing you to make free calls while overseas over data using your phone number (you can switch this feature off if you don't want to use the data network). Just as well, DIGITS will allow its customers to use multiple phone numbers on a single device.

T-Mobile Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert at the New York CNET office.

T-Mobile says Digits will prioritize calls over other data to increase reliability and ensure that phone calls get quality HD voice quality, as opposed to over-the-top (OTT) internet calling services that are not as reliable. T-Mobile expects to fully roll out Digits early next year.

Another scenario where Digits could come in handy is for folks who want a separate business and personal number on the same phone.

And T-Mobile says it had to re-engineer its calling and identity management systems, with multiple pending patents covering the technology.

For the time being, Digits is a "beta" service that current subscribers can sign up for if they so choose.

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DIGITS is much more powerful than the plain, old phone numbers.

The company also said the program is being targeted at businesses, with its new DIGITS being shareable among employees. While Digits is built directly into newer Samsung smartphones like the Note 5 and Galaxy S6 and later (purchased on the T-Mobile network), on iOS devices, Digits will be available through an iOS app.

Using Digits, users can also put multiple numbers on one device and then switch back and forth between their numbers. On Wednesday, the pioneering carrier announced a beta project to go even deeper, separating phones from phone numbers. Lately, that success prompted a host of M&A speculation that other wireless companies, cable companies, or even big tech companies might want to buy T-Mobile from majority-owner Deutsche Telekom.

The most interesting aspect of DIGITS is the fact that your T-Mobile number will work on smartphones that are on other networks too.

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. Customers can call, text, and access voicemail and call history on any device. When someone calls you, they reach you regardless of the device you have in your hand.

I've only had a few hours with the service and will post my first take of the beta version of DIGITS next week. During beta, DIGITS supports up to 5 numbers per compatible device & up to 5 compatible devices per number.

  • Desiree Holland