AT&T is working to give its customers the ability to have one phone number that can be used across a wide range of mobile devices, simplifying their communications capabilities.
The new NumberSync service is expected to hit the market soon on compatible devices, with more compatible devices arriving in time for the December holidays, according to an Oct. 14 post by David Christopher, AT&T's chief marketing officer, on the AT&T Consumer Blog.
"Building on AT&T's vision that all devices should be connected, today we are announcing NumberSync, a service that will use the power of our network to link your compatible devices to your primary mobile number," wrote Christopher. "This means in the future you'll be able to send and receive texts, as well as make and receive calls, from your tablet or wearable using the same number that your family, friends and colleagues recognize. This will work when your smartphone isn't with you, nearby or even powered on."
The company has not yet announced a firm release date for NumberSync.
The feature is being added because customers often don't want a different phone number for each of their devices, wrote Christopher. "Since NumberSync operates in our wireless network, it is not dependent on a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. Your devices don't need to be near each other, and NumberSync will work even if your primary phone is turned off or disconnected from the network."
The network-based service will work across many devices and operating systems, he wrote. Users will only have to check one voicemail box for incoming messages using the service. That means that users will be able to stay connected when they only have one mobile device with them because their communications will still be with them, he added.
"AT&T is actively working with our ecosystem to integrate NumberSync with future devices," he wrote "We're really excited about bringing this functionality to market soon."
An AT&T spokesperson could not immediately be reached for additional comment about NumberSync.
AT&T has also been unveiling other features for customers recently, including 4G LTE mobile capabilities in six cities in Mexico as the U.S.-based carrier rolls out more new services in a country where its business footprint continues to grow. The company said it plans to expand 4G LTE services to more than 40 million customers in Mexico by the end of the year and to more than 100 million people there by the end of 2018. The unveiling of the high-speed 4G LTE services is aimed at bringing faster mobile Internet services to customers across Mexico.
The 4G LTE services are now available in the Mexican cities of Atlacomulco, Estado de Mexico; Cuernavaca, Morelos; Cuautla, Morelos; Pachuca, Hidalgo; Tepeji, Hidalgo; and Tulancingo, Hidalgo. The availability of 4G LTE speeds means that data and services can be delivered by as much as six times faster than on older 3G networks, according to the company.
Earlier this month, AT&T rolled out WiFi calling for customers who are using Apple iPhone 6s or 6 smartphones along with the iOS 9 operating system. The services began two days after the company received a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission for rules that require accommodations for hearing-impaired customers who rely on teletypewriter (TTY) services. The waiver, issued Oct. 6, was required because TTY services don't operate properly over WiFi networks. TTY services under FCC rules must be provided for telecommunications networks. TTY services allow voice communication to be relayed using typed words, rather than by voice.
Callers will continue to use their existing mobile phone numbers and will be able to make and receive calls as they normally would on the cellular network. No separate app or configuration is needed. There are no additional costs for the service for calls to U.S. phone numbers.