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T-Mobile is trying to revolutionize the way you use your phone number

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

T-Mobile has introduced a new service it hopes will reinvent how you use your phone number. Called Digits, the initiative lets you use your regular old number across multiple devices; we’re talking Android phones, iPhones, tablets, computers, smart watches, the works.

Conversely, you’ll also be able to add multiple phone numbers to a single device, which means you won’t have to carry around a personal and work phone anymore, since you can use both phone numbers on one device.

Digits is currently in a closed beta and available to only a limited number of T-Mobile customers. T-Mobile hasn’t announced pricing for the service, though representatives were keen to point out that it will be “disruptive.”

So how will Digits work? Good question. Say you have a T-Mobile iPhone and an old Verizon phone sitting in your drawer, or even your current work phone. You sign up for Digits and, in the instance of that old Verizon phone, download the Digits app to your Verizon handset. From then on, you’ll be able to place calls and send messages using your T-Mobile number on that Verizon phone through the Digits app.

If you’ve got a work phone and want to leave it behind, you can simply add the number to your personal device via Digits. That way you’ll be able to make calls and send text messages to work contacts without having to deal with two different handsets.

Since Digits also works with your laptop and desktop, you can also make calls and send messages via your web browser in the event that you forget your phone at home or it dies and you can’t find a charger. To do that, you’ll simply have to log into your T-Mobile account from your computer. Once you’re logged in, you’ll have access to all of your contacts and text messages.

There are certainly other services similar to Digits out there, such as Google Voice, Verizon’s One Talk and AT&T’s NumberSync. But, according to T-Mobile, those don’t let you use multiple numbers on your device, while also letting you use your number on other companies’ handsets, tablets and desktops.

If you do put your number on multiple devices, T-Mobile says they’ll each ring at the same time, to ensure you don’t miss your call. There’s no word if you’ll be able to silence specific devices, though, being unable to do so would be downright ridiculous. You don’t want to hear your phone, tablet, laptop and watch ring all at once. That would drive you nuts.

If you’re interested in signing up for the Digits beta, you’ll need to have an Active T-Mobile postpaid account and an Android phone running Android 5.0 or newer, an iPhone running iOS 9 or newer and either Firefox or Chrome for your Mac or PC. Unfortunately, T-Mobile says Apple’s iMessage won’t work with the Digits beta, so if you manage to get in, you’ll have to disable it and use a standard texting app.

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Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.