T-Mobile is bringing its DIGITS solution out of beta and giving it to the masses at the end of this month, the Un-Carrier announced Thursday.
DIGITS, a phone number technology that enables both cross-device capabilities with a single number and multi-number hosting on a single device, was rolled out in trial form to a select group of T-Mobile customers back in December. But starting May 31, all Un-carrier phone numbers, including those of pre- and postpaid customers, small businesses, and switchers, will be supercharged.
As originally promised, the solution will allow customers to have one phone number ring across multiple devices, including other smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and laptops. That means users can send and receive calls and texts and check voicemail on whatever device they have at hand. DIGITS can also be used to add two numbers to one device – say, a work account and a personal line. But the post-beta version of DIGITS also comes with one other capability: multiple people can share the same number, and can transfer calls on that line to one another. So, for instance, a family can share one set of DIGITS as a house line that will ring across all their devices. And if someone picks up a call meant for another family member, they can pass it along to the appropriate person.
According to T-Mobile Director of Product Marketing Evan Feldman, consumers’ desire for the latter feature was just one of the things the Un-carrier learned in its beta trial of DIGITS.
Feldman said the test period included “tens of thousands” of users, from whom T-Mobile gleaned some interesting data and a bucket-load of feedback. One of the more interesting stats that Feldman pointed to was that 41 percent of beta customers opted to use DIGITS on their computer (which works similarly to how iMessage functions across Apple’s iPhones and laptops). Feldman said that trend yielded longer text messages as customers went to town on their keyboards, but also resulted in the creation of a DIGITS app for computers rather than just a browser interface on Chrome or Firefox.
Feldman said 96 percent of beta users ended up using DIGITS on an additional smartphone or tablet, but another large chunk took advantage of the service on their wearable. With such high utilization numbers, T-Mobile is hoping DIGITS will not only reshape how customers think about their tablets and wearables as useful items, but also how OEMs approach the design of such products.
To get DIGITS on a smartwatch, Un-carrier customers will need a plan for Data with Paired DIGITS for $10 per month. The feature with talk and text can also be added across smartphones and tablets for $10 per month. And for a limited time, T-Mobile said it will be offering its One Plus customers a free extra DIGITS line.