T-Mobile Digits Frees You From Your Phone!
In December 2016, T-Mobile announced its new T-Mobile Digits
service. It's actually a massive change in platform
infrastructure. So what is it? Digits allows user
two main features:
, the ability to call and text from ONE number
devices. This means that you can use any
phone, tablet, or smart watch to call out, answer calls, and send and
receive text messages from your normal number. So if you
forget your phone at home, and you're already an hour away, just use
that old phone you have at your office, or your laptop to manage your
normal communications. A cool feature included in this
approach is that all of your call history, text messages, contacts, and
voicemails are available on any of these devices.
, the ability to call and text from multiple
numbers on one
device. I know a disturbing number of people who carry around
two phones; one for business, and one for personal. Sometimes
it's due to a company policy, while it's often due to a personal desire
to keep work and home separate. In other words, they can turn
their work phone off when at home, and not be disturbed with calls and
messages. T-Mobile Digits allows you to have different phone
numbers all managed on the same phone. It provides the
capability to visually identify the difference between calls and
messages associated with different phone numbers, while also the
ability to toggle on and off a given phone number.
Think about the convenience of not having to manage carrying around,
charging, and generally maintaining multiple phones! Note
that all of this works simultaneously on any device that you
enable with your Digits identity, meaning that all authorized devices
will ring at the same time.
How does T-Mobile Digits work?
This is really a paradigm shift in how we think about phone
numbers. Historically, our number is our identity, and that
identity is assigned to a particular phone or device. With
T-Mobile Digits, your identity is no longer tied to a
tied to YOU. So really, you're then authenticating your
identity on any device you want for access to a particular
phone number, and no
longer shackled to a particular device. It's so logical, it's
crazy that this didn't happened earlier! T-Mobile describes
that they built an entirely new identity management platform to manage
this new method of identification and routing of calls and messages.
How is this different from services like Google
Google Voice, Hangouts, Skype, iMessage, and a myriad of other similar
services have been around for a long time; so how is T-Mobile Digits
different? Personally, I've been using Google Voice for a
LONG time. It allows me to have my work and personal phone
numbers on one device. I can also login to different devices
to use my Google Voice number. The difference with Digits is
that it offers true carrier grade calling. These other
services are VoIP services, which utilize your Internet
connection. T-Mobile Digits on the other hand, uses VoLTE
(Voice over LTE) to make calls over carrier towers (not your Internet
connection), which results in higher quality (HD voice), and a more
consistent and reliable experience.
Moreover, it's fully integrated into your device, such that you can
enable and disable access to different phone numbers. For me,
with Google Voice, I can logout of the service to disable it, however,
I can't disable the number that's tied to the phone (i.e. the
non-Google Voice number), nor can I have more than these two numbers
available on one device. In addition, the phone number that's
native to the phone I'm using (i.e. not the Google Voice number) can't
be disabled. So while it has offered me more flexibility, it
doesn't have the same feature set or flexibility as does T-Mobile
Great For Businesses!
Most companies issue employees a company cell phone and phone
number. This is certainly costly and has operational
overhead. Consider that with T-Mobile Digits, a company can
choose to issue you a phone number only. You then use that
phone number on any device you already have! When the
employee leaves the company, the phone number remains with the company,
including any contacts associated with it. Multiple people
can also access the same number, allowing a team of people to field
calls from clients, or for support. I'm not clear as to how
this actually works in practice though. For example, what
happens if two or three people answer the call at the same time?
Available to Everyone!
Interestingly, you don't even have to be a T-Mobile customers to take
advantage of Digits. You can be on any carrier (ex. Verizon,
AT&T, Sprint, Boost Mobile, Cricket, TracFone, etc.), and still
use the Digits app to access these features. Note that if you
use specific T-Mobile phones, you'll get a fully integrated experience,
rather than having to use an app, however, this approach provides
infinite flexibility to use and deploy this service on any phone, and
on any carrier. At
launch the Galaxy S6 and S7 series, and Galaxy Note 5 had Digits
Will it remain relevant?
As VoIP technologies continue to improve, it's arguable that T-Mobile
Digits won't be as compelling, or even become irrelevant.
be a fair comment, however, in my opinion, T-Mobile has a unique,
first-to-market feature that will be years before other carriers can
copy it, or VoIP becomes as good or as flexible. Until that
happens, it's a great feature for a lot of us who need multiple phone
numbers, but don't want the hassle of managing multiple
phones! You can even assign temporary numbers that you can
out to certain people that you don't want to have your main number,
while still having it fully integrated into any device of
I see this as a pretty innovative service that will get T-Mobile
additional attention, as well as additional customers. It may
be an irrelevant feature for a lot of people, while invaluable for
others. I'm looking forward to seeing how the market reacts
to this, and I will update this page as things evolve! I also
think this is a great feature for prepaid wireless customers!
can find their site at T-Mobile Digits