For a long time, your phone number has been an anchor tying you to a single device. But after months of testing, T-Mobile is finally ready to break that bond and set your number free when its Digits service goes live in less than a week.
On May 31, all current T-Mobile subscribers will have their phone numbers automatically converted into Digits numbers for free. When that happens, normal phone use won't change, but customers will also be able to login to the Digits app on PCs and smartphones (both Android and iOS) when they want to send and receive calls and texts on a secondary device.
First announced by T-Mobile late last year, Digits is a new way to direct calls and texts to a device without needing a SIM card. It works similar to popular VOIP services such as Google Voice or Skype that instead rely on user credentials to manage your account. That means if you don't have access to your phone for some reason, you can grab a PC or mobile device, log into Digits, and use that as a secondary device without anyone ever knowing.
In addition to converting all existing numbers to Digits, T-Mobile customers will also be able to buy additional Digits numbers for $10 a month (after accounting for the AutoPay discount). For a limited time, T-Mobile customers with the company's premium $75-a-month One Plus plan will also be able to sign up for a second Digits number for free.
While smartphones and laptops will get the most use out of Digits, the service will also work with devices like smartwatches or feature phones via the company's Data with Paired Digits service. In those cases, instead of using an app to login, T-Mobile will provide users with a Digits-enabled SIM card so those device can have access to data, calls and texts. Data with Paired Digits will also cost $10 a month (after the AutoPay discount).
Select phones such as the Galaxy S8 already have the support for Digits baked right into the device, so some users may not even need to download a separate app to use T-Mobile's new service.
In the end, Digits is a really just a way for T-Mobile to update the traditional phone number into something that behaves more like the modern chat and communication apps people are already using. It might sound complicated, but it's actually pretty simple, and the next time you leave your phone at home, you'll be happy you have it.