One Mobile Number Could Cover Multiple Devices

John Lister's picture

T-Mobile is to let customers use a single phone number on multiple devices, including computers and tablets. It will even work on handsets with service from rival carriers.

Although tools such as Google Voice already allow a similar function, they use data networks to carry voice calls, which can mean lower quality. The T-Mobile tool will work over ordinary voice networks wherever possible.

The technology, which T-Mobile dubs Digits, involves a fundamental rethink of what a SIM card is for. At the moment it involves identifying a specific device that's linked to a mobile service plan. With Digits, it's more about identifying the specific individual who uses the number.

Technology Built In To Some Handsets

Exactly how it works will depend on the devices concerned. Some newer phones will have the capability to receive calls through Digits built-in. In most cases, each phone, mobile device or PC will need a dedicated app that's activated when somebody calls in on the number. (Source:

T-Mobile believes the tool will appeal to both consumers and business. For consumers it could mean no longer having to always have an expensive smartphone on hand, instead being able to take a second cheap phone when out running, or using a tablet as a back-up if their main phone runs out of power.

For businesses it could mean having a single number for customers to call, with multiple staff being able to pick up and answer if they are available.

One Phone Could Have Multiple Numbers

As well as allowing multiple devices to use the same number, Digits will also allow users to have multiple phone numbers on the same phone. That could mean employees are able to have a single phone that they can use for both personal and business calls. If a staff member leaves, the business number can easily be reassigned.

Another possibility is creating a temporary phone number such as when placing an online ad, safe in the knowledge that it can be "disconnected" easily when the ad is no longer valid and the user doesn't want to receive any more calls.

The service is launching as a beta test, during which there'll be no additional charge. Once it's up and running properly, it's likely there will be a monthly cost. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Would you use a service such as this? Does it satisfy a genuine need or is it simply a clever idea being done for the sake of it? If you did use Digits, how much would you be prepared to pay?

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Dennis Faas's picture

This is a very interesting idea though I'm not sure if there should be a charge for it, depending on the circumstances. If you think about it - if one number gets assigned to multiple devices, that would mean more people are likely to use the service. In turn, more data and voice calls also gets used on the plan. That also means more than likely the users' quota on the plan will get used up (if they are not on an 'unlimited' plan), resulting in overages and ultimately more money for the company. If the user had an unlimited plan then perhaps an additional charge would apply. I would like to see their proposed pricing either way.

ecash's picture

??? questions..
Is this so that ALL the devices and be used in SOMEWHAT, simultaneous, fashion? with 1 number?
Digital hopping..isnt to hard.. giving a wider bandwidth to each customer is a nice idea, and they can Use it back and forth as needed..
But I dont see the need for a Hardware/software addon..Unless they are going to SHOVE it all on 1 channel per customer and use DIGITAL signatures to keep it all straight..
Which COULD be done already..