By Joe Paonessa May 25, 2017
Starting Wednesday, May 31st, T-Mobile is transferring all of its customer phone lines over to its DIGITS system. DIGITS technology is made possible by what T-Mobile calls IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), its service management layer and Identity Management solution. This in a bit of an oversimplification means that your phone number will become cloud or IP based and will no longer need to be tied to a SIM card.
How Will You Benefit From DIGITS?
Since the DIGITS system eliminates the need of a SIM card for identification on the network, T-Mobile subscribers will be now able to use their phone number with all of their devices. T-Mobile says you'll be able to answer calls and send text messages over your PC, tablet, laptop or any other capable device, all while using your real phone number. If you have a second phone, you'll even be able to use that with your T-Mobile number, regardless of which carrier you are subscribed to with that second device.
To take advantage of this new feature which is being offered for free, all you will have to do is download the appropriate app to the device that you want to use DIGITS with and sign into your T-Mobile account. In some ways, this sounds a lot like how Google Voice and other apps such as FreedomPop work. Although with the DIGITS system, T-Mobile will actually allow you to use multiple numbers with just one device.
Throwaway Phone Numbers And Business Lines
T-Mobile says that since its phone numbers no longer need to be tied to a SIM card, you will now be able to purchase secondary phone numbers to use with your account priced at a cost of $10/month. A maximum of 5 phone numbers will be allowed per device.
The company has presented several use cases where one could benefit by having multiple lines on one device. For starters, you can now enable a second line to use with Craigslist or other services where you may not want to give out your permanent number. You can can also disable it any time.
From how T-Mobile is advertising DIGITS, it seems that they really want to go after the business market which could spell trouble for some business cell phone plan providers and those that offer services similar to the closing Mast Mobile.
T-Mobile states that 31% of business owners carry two or more cell phones with them that contain personal and work numbers. DIGITS should help alleviate this problem for some which would also help to cut costs for those business owners. Large businesses will now have the ability to assign DIGITS lines to everyone in lieu of having to provide a new device to them.
Business's will also be able to assign one number to use for sales if they so choose, and have it work such that if it is called, the whole sales team will have the ability to answer it. When a team member leaves the company, the business will still get to retain all the contacts and recent history associated with that number.
For a limited time T-Mobile will be offering a free secondary DIGITS line to those that are subscribed to T-Mobile One Plus or One Plus International.
Potential Pitfall With DIGITS
One potential pitfall that immediately jumps out to me has to do with security. With the ability to place calls and phone numbers through an application and across multiple devices, one has to wonder if your phone calls and text messages just became a little less private. If someone gets a hold of or hacks your account credentials, they will now have access to your text messages and phone calls. If you are using your phone number as a form of two factor authentication with various websites, this may also allow hackers to more easily access some of your other important accounts. DIGITS had actually been in beta testing for awhile, although I personally did not get to check it out. Perhaps one of you who has, can also provide some insight to the service.
The DIGITS platform is something that sounds exciting to me, despite the potential pitfall(s). Like many things, there are trade-offs to be made for convenience. I look forward to being able to answer text messages with my pc, instead of having to go reach for my phone or grab it off of the charger when someone messages my main line.
I also usually carry two different phones around, one to use while I do MVNO reviews as well as my main line. DIGITS should allow me to only have to take my review phone out the door with me if I so choose.
If you want to know more about DIGITS head on over to T-Mobile or check out the video above.