T-Mobile Digits will let you use one phone number across devices

tmobiledigits

Yesterday T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert teased that a big announcement was imminent, and now we know exactly what he was hinting at.

Digits is a new service from T-Mobile that lets you use the same phone number across devices. 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.

Digits will also let you use multiple numbers on the same device, with the goal of killing the need to carry a work phone and a personal phone.

What’s notable is that Digits works on non-T-Mobile devices and even on devices that aren’t on T-Mobile’s network. Once you log in, you’ll be able to make calls using your digits. If you’re not on the T-Mo network, your calls will be treated as data. All that you’ll need is a T-Mobile phone number and postpaid account.

Digits is built in to Samsung’s latest smartphones, including the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S7, and Galaxy S7 edge. T-Mobile is working other device makers to integrate Digits support into their devices.

You can also access your Digits through the dedicated apps on Android and iOS, as well as through your browser on a PC or Mac. No matter which device you’re on, you’ll see your call log, messages, contacts, and voicemail.

Digits is launching today in beta, and you can register to try it out. To do so, you’ll need to be a postpaid customer with a Simple Choice or T-Mobile One account in good standing. During the beta, you’ll be able to put your Digits on up to five devices, and you can use up to five Digits on a single device.

T-Mobile plans to fully launch Digits in early 2017, but there’s no word yet how much it’ll cost when it rolls out.

It was more than one year ago that T-Mobile revealed that it was working on a solution that’d let you use one phone number across devices, but T-Mo didn’t say much about the offering since then. Many folks have been wondering what was going on, and now we know.

Digits could be useful for a lot of people, including folks with a personal phone and a business device, business owners with employees, or regular consumers that want to have access to their calls and messages on a computer or smartwatch in addition to their smartphone. What will be interesting is seeing how much T-Mo charges for Digits when it launches in full, and if that price is low enough to convince regular consumers to sign up.

What do you think of Digits? Are you going to register for the beta?

Source: T-Mobile, Digits beta signup

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  • senior

    Meh. I use Google Voice. Same concept, only free-er.

    • PHL

      I use GV also, but there are some compromises that have to be dealt with. I’m hoping that Digits will work better and continue to be developed. I do wonder how Digits will treat Mobile Internet “phone numbers”, i.e. tablet numbers.

  • nvitone23

    What benefits does this have over Google Voice?

    • george

      well it benefits T-Mobile’s bottom line if they can convince people to pay for it…

    • master94

      You get to use your tmobile #s instead of google’s. Wifi calling on non wifi calling enabled phones etc. Other than that not much really.

      • Phil

        It blows away AT&T NumberSync allowing primary # to off network device’s & apps.

    • They are both very similar….
      While Google Voice is an “Over The Top” service, Digits is a virtual number managed by T-Mobile and has deeper integration with the mobile network. GVoice calls use data – Digits calls are ACTUAL PHONE CALLS and like GVoice can be pushed to multiple devices at once.

      I signed up for the beta to see how it works with my iPad – I’m betting if you’re using a tablet/laptop the call is a VOIP call, but if you use a phone? Since Digits is so deeply integrated into the network it just routes/hands off/forwards the call to the REAL mobile number from the virtual one.

      Another thought… would Digits calls on tablets be exempt from data overages?

      • SurvivingSunnyvale

        “GVoice calls use data – Digits calls are ACTUAL PHONE CALLS and like GVoice can be pushed to multiple devices at once.”

        Google Voice is also ‘actual phone calls’ as the base part of the service is to redirect calls to your phone number.

        • woops – you are correct! I completely forgot that was a feature…

  • Phil

    Good job T-mobile long overdue thanks for stepping up with goods!

    Now , were is the self proclaimed Master T-mobile rep @disqus_KK6dLeyPao “Bannon”.
    He was totally clueless on this topic pushing lies about NumberShare – AT&T Numbersync etc in Samsung Gear S3 news story thread doing magenta palm palm cheer labeling those that disagreeded with him T hater & Troll.

  • SpontaneousMixx

    yeah, I already have this… it’s called google voice.
    what I DON’T like is the fact that my t-mobile devices seem to block google/android’s built in number look-up feature in favor of trying to get me to pay for their caller ID service.

  • Same Concept…

    Likewise, as a poster (senior) stated earlier, I have used Google Voice for years without cost an/or any hiccups.

  • BigTmoFan

    I think this is great, should be free to retain customers and attract new ones.

  • matt

    Im able to make and receive voice calls and sms messages from my cellular iPad with iCloud with t-mobile since iOS 10 came out and no one seems to report this.

    all this does is add on to iCloud by giving you different phone numbers. and giving apple features to android

  • AJBnAZ

    Yes Google Voice can do some of this, and yes iOS and Mac do this, but this allows me to not be tied to an ecosystem to get a true find me/follow me presence with my current TMO number. I think it’s awesome. Well done TMO!

    • Locust Gee

      My wife is iOS & I am on Android- we get GV outputs to us no problems.
      Not tied to an ecosystem.
      Heck I don’t want to customers to know we don’t have a physical office but look like we do by picking up the phone anytime we get a sales call -for example.

  • Mark

    I don’t think Apple would really impliment this into their OS’s. They already implement this with one number using the data network. However multiple numbers will cause issues with iMessage, etc.

    Also, Google still hasn’t bothered implementing callkit into iOS 10 after having updated the hangouts app numerous times.

    • Anthony S Jennings

      Actually, having two phone numbers on one Apple ID doesn’t cause problems for iMessage or FaceTime. Both numbers have to be attached to SIM cards inside iPhones though. So no virtual numbers like Google Voice. Both phones log into the same Apple ID. Then each selects the number they want iMessages and/or FaceTime to use as caller ID.

  • col

    Have they not heard of Google Voice? “Unlike anything else our there?” Wow, they need to get out there…

    • Kendrick Vargas

      Google voice isn’t unique among other call forwarding services. It’s only unique because it’s completely ignored by google.

      If what they’re insinuating is true, this will be unique in that it’ll work across a multitude of devices (including watches) for both messaging and calling. This is not necessarily easy on gvoice (and I say this as a gvoice user with 2 numbers on my gvoice line and a cash balance I maintain for LD calling to other countries). Hangouts is being phased out as a consumer thing, and it’s the only way you get gvoice calling on devices other than android.

      • SurvivingSunnyvale

        “Hangouts is being phased out as a consumer thing, and it’s the only way you get gvoice calling on devices other than android.”

        You sure about that?

        I don’t have Hangouts. I use the Google Voice app on my iOS devices.

      • Debra Spicher

        I think I use the normal app, not Hangouts… not that it matters. I think this is a lot better than GV. The difference is obviously this is “carrier” level… better voice quality, streamlined experienced… I hope.. I signed up for the beta. Crossing my fingers here.

  • Travis Tabbal

    It is similar to Google Voice, but it sounds like it offers a little more. For example, you don’t have a port your number or get a new one, if you already have a TMO number you want to use. That’s nice for a lot of people. The management app looks a lot nicer than GV as well. It supports HD Voice, a minor bonus maybe, but useful. It also looks like it will be a bit more integrated/seamless. as it has support at the lower levels of the network. GV is an over-the-top service. Not that it matters a ton in that case as GV uses normal calling systems, not VOIP. So some of the benefits there are not as big a deal.

    GV is becoming more and more a second-class citizen. It hasn’t had a significant update in years. The last time Google neglected a project this much was Reader. So it’s nice to see at least one option possibly being available. If they keep it free or cheap, people might be willing to pay for it. Particularly if Google decides to kill GV.

  • PHL

    I wonder what it would cost to port in a Google Voice number. I want to use my AT&T work phone to also utilize my GV (formerly TMO personal) phone number. I ported the number out to GV to save a few bucks each month and to avoid carrying two phones. It works, but there are a few annoyances. In particular, I don’t know which number I’m answering and my contacts are not synchronized across the two numbers.

    • Brian Richards

      Yeah GV was a great way for me to lose a costly line as well, but it’s not seamless and it hasn’t been improved for years. I’m operating with a background fear that the hammer will eventually fall and Google will abandon it and us. They aren’t always that good at graceful shutdowns of products they aren’t interested in anymore, and I don’t know what I’ll do with my number if that happens. Hopefully this will be a solution.

  • Brian Richards

    Will this let me port my legacy land line number FROM Voice to be a second number on my cell? If so, I would be very very happy. I only tolerate GV because I have to in order to keep that old landline number that is still out there on business cards alive.

    Here’s a few issues I have with GV because GV is not seamless and traps you in a pretty poor ecosystem:

    Hangouts is a terrible texting app for me. I use Textra for texting. So GV texts come in separately from texts to my actual cell number. This is a PITA.

    I use and prefer T-Mo’s visual voicemail to GV’s. GV is embarrassingly terrible at transcription. TMo is far, far better at it, and the app works better in general (other than storage limits which aren’t much of an issue for me).

    UNFORTUNATELY, sometimes GV intercepts my forwarded GV calls and doesn’t allow the TMO VM to pick it up. this means sometimes I am unaware I have a VM that came in on GV because GV is inconsistent at notifications.

    I have to maintain separate block lists of advertisers.

    ANother separate question: I don’t really care about being able to call from multiple devices, but is this going to allow me to text from my PC? currently I use Pushbullet and the Hangouts desktop app to text when I’m in the office. Neither is very good. The hangouts one is slow to notify me of texts, and pushbullet only shows so many texts back on the pc and regularly fails to send without intervention. BOTH suck at group texts. I’d love to be able to just use ONE thing that actually works.

    Actually, I was really hoping that MS would have implemented using the messaging app through the cortana connection to my phone, but sms with cortana is a silly silly joke.

    • teaReactor

      This x2

      I’m so done with multi-devices… I have a work cell turned into a desk phone… and I leave it at home. This is the new way forward imo.

    • Will

      I called T-Mobile about porting a number into them for this. Right now, with it being beta and only just launched the reps weren’t sure. They emailed me a TON of info on this though and if I see anything about number porting I’ll follow up on it here. If I don’t, keep watching the support pages for info on that.

      I am running into the same issue with various apps. I have GV which does the same thing with the voicemail. I’ve had to turn off the forwarding and only use Hangouts to answer the call which sometimes doesn’t ring long enough and goes to voicemail. I pay for Sideline which is a great idea, but is more reliable using their WiFi calling than the actual service, and forget calling Hawaii or Alaska.
      Skype I love and has it’s own issues but I keep that for my international inbound numbers.

      If this works out well, I’d happily pay for it. Being able to call/text from every device I carry using my personal or business numbers would be worth every penny.

  • Mark

    This is a great option. However, there is still a need for people to have separate devices. As some employers or employees won’t want their company having access to their personal device. Or in criminal or civil proceedings where their personal device may be used. And for a company where work information is being stored on a personally owned device and may be compromised.

  • Kevin Ruschman

    I used Google Voice for years but just recently ported it over TM. Google hasn’t updated Voice in literally years and there were so many things that never worked right; MMS across carriers, HD calling, calls that never came though. Plus, the biggest thing, since it was VoIP, if you had cell service but no data service in your area, you couldn’t make or receive a call. Since this is actually a voice packet instead of a data packet, this should work 1000 times better.

    • Most of those were fixed. MMS works, calls come through, etc. However, it may be worth porting Google Voice to Digits if you need HD Voice or spend time away from data. I wouldn’t because Google Voice is free and also integrated into Hangouts.

  • Johnny 5

    Google Voice records every word you say as does much of Google services. No word yet what, if anything, Digits will record and store.

    • frank

      it’s the NSA that records every word you say and every metadata you produce…on every device…on whatever carrier you use.

      • Johnny 5

        Its Google and Apple that store information to make their products “better” based on our keywords and searches.The NSA is a WHOLE other animal.

        • Sam

          Riiiight…keep telling yourself that.

    • GV doesn’t record phone calls. You have the option of submitting voicemails to improve their transcription service. That’s it.

  • junieruiz

    You guys are idiots if you think Google Voice does the same thing far from it not even close I carry a S7 Edge and a iPhone 7 plus one is my personal the other one is for work so now there’s no need for me to carry 2 phones when I can use two different numbers or One phone as many numbers as I want this whole thing is going to hurt other carriers if you think about it T-Mobile going to be killing it with this new feature I updated my S7 Edge this new feature is awesome it’s like Google Voice on steroids it’s not internet-based it uses your cellular LTE same thing with text message the best thing now you can buy whatever phone tablet Smart Watch you want from any carrier use your same number with fast LTE I signed up for the beta can’t wait to see what this thing can really do and a couple of months

    • Phil

      Same here
      When feature is released so many will wonder how they lived without.
      I’m looking forward to Samsung Gear S3 50.00 off with free Digits.
      I will be first in line!

    • Locust Gee

      Ummm – isn’t that what GV does: allows you to get many phone #’s onto 1 device?
      Last I used GV on the go, my GV calls/SMS were being sent to my phone using LTE not WiFi. – At home on a PC, it’s WiFi.

      So why you say “far from it?”

    • MattPortland

      Was it not possible to get your point across without the name calling?

    • Umm it does exactly the same thing when using Google Voice through Skype Preview on the latest Windows 10 / Windows 10 Mobile builds. I get calls, texts, and even pictures on all of my devices through the Skype Preview app, for free.

    • You can use two phones with one number on either GV or Digits.
      You can use two numbers on one phone by using 2 GV numbers.
      Both use an internet connection and can be used over LTE.
      You can buy whatever device you want with both of these.

      What’s the difference? The difference is that Google Voice is free. Digits might not be. Also, Google Voice doesn’t require a T-Mobile line. On the other hand, Digits will allow HD Voice for T-Mobile to T-Mobile calls.

  • Ordeith

    What standards are T-Mobile ignoring to constrain phone and browser support to such an extent? Especially browser support.

    • ;)

      Basement standards

  • SeeThroughYou

    That’s actually very, very, very cool!

    Too bad I already do that with Google and Ooma Telo or I’d be stoked.

    We’ll see if T-Mobile keeps it’s network expansion goals and I can get reliable service here in Northern New Mexico.

    Right now I run Verizon for my work phone and T-mo for my personal phone.

    I would love to just use my T-mo with my work cell number forwarding to it so I can only need to carry one device.

    • This might work in places where you have no data, plus it will give you HD Voice. On the other hand, it might not be free, and it requires a T-Mobile line.

      • SeeThroughYou

        Anywhere near LANL all of the T-Mobile service is VoLTE anyway. If I have voice I almost always have data too.

        • jmpstar

          Ah! Do you live in Los Alamos? I’m in Taos. I haven’t been to Los Alamos too much since my family switched to T-Mobile, but service seemed to be fine at the Smith’s Marketplace. Is T-Mobile service pretty iffy in a lot of areas around Los Alamos? (I may begin spending more time around Los Alamos soon, so I’m curious.)

        • SeeThroughYou

          Haven’t had the T-Mobile cutout anywhere that the Verizon didn’t cut out too.

  • steveb944

    I hate how these aren’t fully functional multi OS/brand features. Stop fragmenting the products you sell T-Mobile.

    Absolutely no reason this shouldn’t fully work on non Samsung devices. I personally dislike Samsung so I won’t buy their stuff. But I shouldn’t miss out on proprietary RCS or this feature. Ridiculous.

    • I agree. But blame Apple and Google not T-Mo.

      • steveb944

        The OS makers have no fault on this one. It’s only a glorified VOIP app. No reason T-Mobile can’t direct all traffic through their own servers for ALL customers into a universal Digits app that supports voice and messaging.

        RCS not being universal is the result of carriers wanting to take over yet another ‘standard’. Apple doesn’t need it, Google made one, carriers want their own individuality, somewhat similar to Android OS variations.

    • It’s going to be an app, but built into the native Samsung ROM.

  • Mark

    Anyone who doesn’t use Samsung….T-Mobile said they would not zero rate the app on the iPhone. Meaning, Data used in picture messaging, text, and voice will also count against your data usage.

    Source: T-Mobile help on twitter

    • They can’t zero-rate it, as this would violate net neutrality, and likely draw more ire due to it being T-Mobile’s own service being zero-rated.

      • Mark

        AT&T seems to be zero-rating their services namely DirecTV and DirecTV NOW with no problems.

        • They also have an FCC complaint ongoing against them right now.

  • Mike Thaler

    IF I could easily use this feature to send texts from PC – would use it a fair amount. Just signed up and waiting for reply. Would data count when on wifi?

    • Mark

      You can text from a pic using google hangouts in conjunction with google voice.

      • You can also do it using Skype Preview on the latest Windows 10/Windows 10 Mobile builds, even if you’re using Google Voice through Skype.

      • Brian Richards

        You can do it with your real phone number using pushbullet.

        Texting though hangouts is not the same as texting with your actual cell number especially since you can’t use a GV number with any text app on your phone. You are stuck with the crappy hangouts app.

        • Mark

          It’s pretty close. Hangouts allows you to text and send MMS through your GV number. It also allows multiple sign-ins if you have another account with GV. However, Google still has yet to implement CallKit for iOS 10. What is nice about using hangouts is that everything is routed through the app and is independent in terms of the call logs, texts, etc. Also, I used it all the time while I was in Europe to call the US for free. Whether on LTE or WiFi.

  • Trppedsnsanity

    Just another way for hackers to clone your phone

  • Nobody Special

    lol

  • mreveryphone

    Finally! I can use my gear s3 as it was intended!

    • Phone Guy

      That gets expensive. $5 for the plan. Another $3 or $4 for taxes and fees, and another $5 for this, suddenly its $15 a month for the watch. Yikes.

      • Mike

        Then don’t get it poor man

      • mreveryphone

        You gotta pay to play… I already have the second line so I’m paying anyway…

  • FILA

    shouldn’t cost anymore then additional $5 a month. I do need this though. Looking at alternative options on the play store, some are shitty review or it lags. I already have a personal Google voice number, but would like another Google voice number for work, but you can only have 1 google voice number attached to your actual carrier number

    • Phone Guy

      You can have another Gmail account with another Google Voice and point that one to your carrier number as well. That would work then you would have two G Voice numbers going to your phone.

      • RJKMadison

        Unless GV has changed, a cell phone can only be attached to one account.

        • Locust Gee

          I know you can switch GV accounts on the go on the same cell phone via their app.

          Also you can route your GV accounts into hangouts & switch accounts on the go there too i.e. recv/make calls & SMS via different accounts on 1 phone.

    • RJKMadison

      You can have 2 numbers on a single GV account by porting a number in after you have one assigned from Google. Unfortunately, they don’t have separate call routing rules.
      I would like:
      – Call to #1 – ring cell if in my contacts, otherwise direct to voicemail
      – Call to #2 – direct to voicemail

  • Seems like it’s basically Google Voice, but for T-Mobile numbers. A more integrated solution. Can’t wait for email or usernames to be thrown into the mix, because people are more than just ten digits. If this ever gets disconnected from Samsung ROMS/etc and if Google Voice stops existing, this would be a great alternative, since it should work even if you don’t have data, and it should get HD Voice. On the other hand, Google Voice is free and it also doesn’t require a T-Mobile line.

  • riverhorse

    I’m on Metro $50 Unlimited grandfathered plan.
    If Digits works correctly I may switch.

    • Walt

      Is that the plan that they made you buy one of their phones and couldnt byod?

      • riverhorse

        Yes sir.

  • Mike

    I use a freeby second line called sideline. Works just fine for my purposes. Has all the bells and whistles.

  • Nikitao1

    So wouldn’t this defeat the purpose of having dedicated connected devices lines on your plan? Like you can use digits rather than paying $5 or $10 a month for service?

    • Homero Garza

      No they’ll need data still

  • gladia

    I use Google Voice and Hangouts for that and for free.

    • Critic4U

      Me too I love it that way I even use Hangouts v10.1 so I still have merged text messages instead of having multiple threads from the same person.

  • PiCASSiMO

    Wished this service came out sooner than later. Too many customers are asking for my personal cell phone number. I don’t have a work cell, but a work landline phone/number.

    • Critic4U

      It did it was called Google Voice, People call my google voice number and it auto forwards to my cell phone and even shows who is calling. You can even block people from calling and it will tell them your number has been disconnected speech that phone companies give when it is disconnected. It even does Voice to text email service as well, and you can even get Hangouts dialer and make phone calls from a tablet that has LTE or WiFi connection or if you really want to your cellphone but then when you get a call it will ring on both the phone app and the hangouts dialer. I would recommend not wasting your time putting the app on the phone and just use the forwarding service. but all free and no fees unless you call out to another country.

      • Marcin_BodyRocker

        Ditto, I have it too (GV) and love it. Best of all you can select different area code too. The only negative is that if you want incoming caller ID on your phone for GV, you don’t know which line is the call coming in on (your cell or GV). You know only if your tablet or PC rings along with your phone, that’s tricky.

        • Pak T

          Ya, same complaint about GV. I too wish you could see the caller’s ID *AND* that it is a GV forwarded call. Instead you can pick one or the other. But having a second number that still rings your mobile phone is priceless for when you need to give a phone number to businesses or other entities that you want to call you but you don’t really want them to have your REAL mobile number.

        • Critic4U

          only way I could figure out how to fix this issue was to install Hangouts dialer on the phone also, but drawback is you have two apps ringing on the phone and then you have both the stock phone app ringing and the Hangouts dialer app ringing.

  • bill evans

    Have anyone been accepted yet for the beta?

    • Josh Warfel

      I signed up last night. But still have not received the confirmation/setup email yet. According to the FAQ, “most people” should receive the email instantly.

      • Brian Richards

        Yeah, I signed up pretty quickly and all I got was an email saying we’ll let you know.

        • livewire1981

          I did not even get that.

        • Fernando N.

          signed up last night and no email.

          Installed the APP and when trying to log in it says I wasn’t selected for the BETA ….

          Since I’ve been using Google Voice since it was Grand Central and since its free, not sure if “DIGITS” will be an option to consider

        • Brian Richards

          got an email last night saying, we know you’re excited, but we’ll get back to you next week.

  • OldTimer

    I don’t think this is going to work out for me. I have a very old plan and I think I would have to change it. Not likely that I would be willing. Can’t get involved with the beta until I know for sure.

    • Pak T

      Just get a Google Voice number instead. Free and works with ANY phone and any plan because you don’t need to have an app installed or don’t need network support or don’t even need a data plan.

  • stuman19741974 .

    I’m using the beta and did the option to have 2 numbers on my Android phone (my primary from that Android as well as my iPhone number). App seems ok. Crashed on me once. The bad thing I am seeing so far though is that while I can receive texts from others and they show on both phones, if I send a text from phone A, it will not show my sent text on phone B (and vice-versa).

    • Mark

      I guess it’s not as good as iMessage. Apple updates all the devices with sent/received messages even when they were previously offline.

      • a d00d

        Mark, it’s obviously a bug. And you iCrap most likely only works on other iCrap–this works in just about everything (I hope).

        Wondering what the real name of this service is and who’s actually building it…?

  • Phil

    Beta working smooth thus far on my Galaxy S7 number pushed to Samsung TabA.
    Both devices receive calls @ same time & flawless contact sync etc.

    Hehe it’s very cool being able to make & receive calls on TabA total win

  • Jason.

    There was a data breach on the registration. I recieved an email saying that my name, email, and phone number were accidently shared with other people registering. It says that as soon as they bacame aware of it they halted the registration process.

  • stuman19741974 .

    Anyone get their virtual line SIM in the mail yet? I have a tracking number for mine, but prob not receiving it until Thur or Fri.

    • Tale 85

      Mine got here yesterday. Popped in the sim, did the setup and it works. Simple as that. Ain’t technology wonderful.

      • YJ Lim

        I got mine today and it see,s like I’m getting free data on the virtual SIM card as well. Anyone else?

        • Tale 85

          “During the Beta period” according to T-Mobile. At least if you’re on T-Mobile One. It pulls Data off your main number after that. But nothing is cast in stone yet.

  • OZ

    I am able to use Digits with both my tablet and Laptop. So far so good.

  • Digits for Phone and I-Pad

    Awesome, I am able to use Digits with both my phone and i-pad, especially with my i-pad, it is an added value (messaging)

  • JG

    “Digits is like nothing out there today”… “And no one has done this..” “Its never even been thought of before”…

    Um, except Google Voice… Which has been out for the better part of a decade (since March 2009).

    Or the very similar Project Fi (launched 22 April 2015). With Fi, if I forget my phone at home – oh well… I can make calls on my tablet, PC, very probably my smartwatch as well…