Your phone number is now freed from serving a single device — if you're a T-Mobile subscriber. T-Mobile's new Digits service kicked off today (May 31), letting T-Mobile customers use a single number across multiple devices for free.
Not sure how Digits works? Here's a quick guide to how T-Mobile's newest customer perk works and whether it's enough to get you to switch your wireless service over to the Uncarrier.
What Is Digits?
Digits is a new T-Mobile service that uses one phone number across multiple devices (or, if you prefer, multiple numbers like a work and home number on a single phone). Essentially, Digits can direct calls to a device like a second phone or even a PC without requiring a SIM card.
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T-Mobile launched the service as a beta in late 2016, before unveiling Digits to all of its subscribers in May 2017.
How Does Digits Work?
Think of Digits as similar to a VoIP service, such as Skype, where you can log into a dedicated app in order to send and receive phone calls. There's a Digits app for both Android and iOS (opens in new tab) that you can install in order to send and receive calls on those devices from your T-Mobile number. Good news if you've got a Galaxy phone — any Galaxy S6 and later (including the S8 and S8+) and the Note 5 have Digits functionality built in.
But Digits isn't just about staying connected from a different phone. You can also make and receive phone calls from a computer. Go to the Digits website (opens in new tab), and, after logging in with your T-Mobile ID, you can manage which numbers you want to use. Note that you'll need to use either Chrome or Firefox; the Digits website doesn't work on Safari.
You can also download a desktop Digits app that lets you use the service from a standalone window.
How Do I Get Started with Digits?
If you're a T-Mobile customer, you don't have to do a thing. T-Mobile says that all its phone numbers have been converted to Digits numbers. All that you have to do to take advantage of the service is to download those aforementioned apps on any device you want to use as a backup phone.
What If I Want More Than One Digits Number?
Ah, that's where some effort is required on your part. For a limited time, if you pay up for one of T-Mobile's premium unlimited plans — either the $75-a-month T-Mobile One Plus or the $95-a-month T-Mobile One Plus International, you're eligible to sign up for an extra Digits number for free for as long as you keep those plans. (And yes, you can upgrade to either plan while this offer is in place to get that additional free Digits number.)
Other users are eligible to sign up for an additional number for an extra $10 a month so long as you're enrolled in autopay. Otherwise, it's $15 a month.
You'll also need to pay $10 a month to let your smartwatch use the same number as your phone by buying a Data with Paired Digits Plan from T-Mobile.
Doesn't Google Offer Something Similar?
Yes, Google Voice gives you a single number to use across multiple devices. The advantage to T-Mobile Digits is that you're able to add multiple lines — up to five numbers per device as well as five devices per number.
Why Is T-Mobile Doing This?
From weekly giveaways to easy-to-understand international plans, T-Mobile seems to always be looking for a way to stand out from its rival carriers, and Digits is the latest shot across the bows of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. T-Mobile touts the service as appealing to businesses, who can distribute work numbers that employees can use on their personal phones. (Digits numbers work on other carrier's phones since you're calling through an app.)
Digits could also appeal to families who want a single home number that reaches everyone on all their devices. And having a dedicated Digits number can also come in handy for things like online signups.
Is that enough to get you to switch carriers? Probably not, when weighted against other factors like network performance, customer service and the cost of monthly plans. But T-Mobile's hoping that Digits is another mark in its favor when you're trying to decide which carrier to use.