Deustche Bank has estimated that somewhere around 250,000 of the postpaid net adds that T-Mobile reported in Q2 of 2017 are actually virtual phone numbers and their accompanying accounts, created by the carrier's new DIGITS initiative. T-Mobile has confirmed that Deutsche Bank's allegation is indeed correct, but did not confirm whether the estimated amount was correct. T-Mobile will reportedly be working to come to an accurate estimate, and will be retroactively correcting the report with that new figure in mind. DIGITS was offered for free to all customers, though the program was likely not useful to a good number of customers. Still, this means that a significant chunk of T-Mobile's user base likely took advantage of the service, so there's no telling at the moment just how accurate Deutsche Bank's estimate is, or whether the real figure is higher or lower.
If Deutsche Bank's estimate is correct or the actual number that T-Mobile will provide lower proves to be higher than that, the carrier's total postpaid net adds for the second quarter of 2017 will be below 550,000. More importantly, if the real figure does dip that low, it will be the first time in quite a while that T-Mobile has missed Wall Street estimates for postpaid net adds. The Un-Carrier's strong momentum called for between 590,000 and 611,000 postpaid net adds for the quarter.
T-Mobile's DIGITS service is quite convenient, for certain subsets of users. It not only generates virtual phone numbers that can be used like real ones on a smartphone, but allows devices that can accept calls by proxy, such as tablets and wearables, to share that phone number, or even have a unique number so long as they are near their host device. The service may not have much to offer the average customer, but for those with multiple shared devices or a desire to have a separate work number, or multiple numbers for any other reason, the possible benefits are quite clear. The service launched in May right in the middle of the second quarter, which would mean that the first few weeks of the service where the most users would likely have jumped on board, will all be on the report for that quarter.