AT&T has been prepping a new feature which would allow customers to share a single phone number across multiple devices including smartphones and tablets. It has evidently become hard for consumers to maintain a bunch of SIM cards to go into different devices and not to mention the hassles and extra cost associated with it.
The Technology in question is codenamed Cascade and it is being tested since last year, it was developed in the company’s Foundry incubator in Palo Alto. AT&T calls the services NumberSync and will be launched on selected devices initially and will support the feature via a software upgrade. Additionally, the company would be in works with manufacturers to deploy the new feature on their phones and connected devices including tablets and watches.
We are not alien to shared data plans and the NumberSync works on the same subscription model. As of now, AT&T is already charging a flat per device fees of $5 in order to connect to a shared data plan and they might very well extend a similar pricing structure for the NumberSync.
The best part of the NumberSync is that it is not network based, hence the technology will work even if the primary phone is switched off. AT&T Mobility’s CEO Glenn expressed his optimism over the exploding wearable space and the fact that soon these devices need to have cellular connectivity in order to stay connected with each other.
NumberSync will also prove to be useful in connected cars and would allow users to take multiple calls over different locations. While the NumberSync might appear to be a totally new feature, it actually isn’t. Blackberry has had something similar which they call it as virtual SIM. Blackberry had already sought approval from the Indian authorities to launch the Virtual SIM in the country earlier this year.
It still intrigues me on how the NumberSync would handle mobile number linked services like WhatsApp which can be logged in a single device at any point of time. But that being said, the NumberSync would help people stay connected all the time across multiple devices without having to buy a bunch of SIM cards and pay separately for them, moreover the fact that all the devices will still have the same primary mobile number is indeed a deal sweetener.