Starting May 31, T-Mobile users are going to be able to use their phone numbers in an entirely new way.
The new feature, known as DIGITS, is rolling out to all customers, the company said Thursday. It lets you connect all the devices you own to a single phone number - meaning you'll be able to receive text messages and voice calls not just on your own phone, but to any other device you link with that number, such as a work phone or smartwatch. You'll also be able to send and receive messages on a PC through a Web browser, T-Mobile said.
For people who juggle multiple devices, this could make life easier by making it so that they no longer have to give out numerous phone numbers. And users won't need to do anything to make it happen; T-Mobile said it will add DIGITS capabilities to its customers' existing lines automatically.
Another feature of DIGITS is that users will be able to associate the same device with multiple phone numbers. So, for example, if you want to keep work and personal life separate but still receive both types of calls on the same phone, you can sign up for an additional phone number and give that one out to your professional contacts while reserving your original phone number for close friends and family.
T-Mobile is charging an extra $10 (roughly Rs. 650) per month for each additional phone number, though customers who are on the T-Mobile OnePlus plan are temporarily being offered one extra phone number for free. This could come in handy if you intend to use a DIGITS number like a throwaway email address to protect your privacy - giving it out whenever you're dealing with someone you might not fully trust with your personal data.
As more Americans turn to smart, connected devices for everyday tasks, some are also having to make sure that any work they do on one of them gets reflected across all of them. Universal phone numbers that work across devices can help us keep track of our gadgets - and allow us to get creative with our communications strategies.
Google was among the earliest to experiment with this idea. Released in 2009, its Google Voice service allowed users to assign themselves a new, virtual phone number that could ring all of their phones. AT&T rolled out a similar feature in 2015 called NumberSync. But T-Mobile getting in the game means that many more people who haven't linked their devices together will soon get their first opportunity to try.
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