Telephones have been around for more than a century and the basic way we use them isn’t going to change soon – we always dial a phone number, which will connect us to a unique phone terminal (excluding call centers). The technology evolved, you got a smartphone and an LTE-enabled smartwatch, but you still have to dial a number to call your mom and if someone wants to call you, there will be 2 phone numbers, one for each device, plus your landline and work phones. In order to try to solve that, AT&T announced yesterday a featured called NumberSync, which will allow customers to have a single phone number shared among several devices such as smartphones, tablets, wearables, and smart cars.
Following the announcement by AT&T, T-Mobile rushed to spread the word that they would be offering a similar service. Today, the news is that Sprint is also planning such a feature. “At this time, Sprint is exploring offering a service that would allow a customer’s smartphone, tablet, and other devices to share a single phone number. Innovation is at the core of our business. We will provide additional details at a later time.”, said the company to Re/code.
As said, there isn’t any information regarding a timeline and how the system is going to work. T-Mobile didn’t give any further details either, saying that they would ask customers what they want before building it, which is likely to take some time to come to life. As for AT&T, the carrier has been testing the technology for at least a year. Code-named Cascade, it was developed in part in Palo Alto, Calif., at the company’s Foundry incubator. NumberSync is rather a network feature and not a device specific one, making it easier to integrate on existing smartphones and other gadgets, and the company is already working with manufacturers to enable the technology out-of-the-box.
This is going to be an important landmark on mobile technology, making our connected lives much easier. Instead of having multiple phone numbers, you will be able to have just one number and when someone calls you, it can be picked on any device, regardless if your smartwatch is near your smartphone or if you are traveling and your office phone rings. AT&T said that they are planning to launch the service on an initial device “fairly soon”, which can mean a few months. There isn’t any pricing information yet, but as currently the company charges $5 to $10 per month for each device connected, it is possible that we see similar pricing. At present, there’s no word on if Verizon is also planning something similar.