The new AT&T Collaborate "Enhanced Mobile" service gives business users the ability use their desk phone and mobile phone interchangeably, whether they are in the office or not. The service lets employees use their cell phones just like their office phones, with an integrated voicemail box and other features important for keeping business separate from personal.

The Enhanced Mobile service reduces the chance of missing important calls and eliminates the need for customers to keep track of or call multiple numbers (cell or office). It can also reduce the frustration of "voice jail" by increasing the likelihood that callers will reach the person they want directly, rather than having their calls rerouted to a receptionist or a company voicemail system.

Since the service is network-based, users don't have to download a special app to speak with someone using Enhanced Mobile. Calls go over the VoLTE network, which according to AT&T, gives a higher Quality of Service (QoS) and does not use data.

Business Benefits

The main benefit of the new service is for businesses with a mobile workforce. Sales and customer service reps who work on-the-go no longer need to manage different phone lines and voicemail boxes, which means they should be able to provide better, more efficient service.

Roman Pacewicz, who serves as chief product officer for AT&T Business, says the new Collaborate Enhanced Mobile service effectively "blurs the line between fixed and mobile networks." And, he says, it gives businesses a cost-effective way to simplify communication across AT&T's highly secure network.

In addition to improving the customer experience, other features and benefits outlined by AT&T include:

  • Simultaneous and sequential ring options that let you keep calls from going straight to voicemail when you need to catch important incoming calls
  • Business Auto Attendant -- a voice response service that routes calls where you need them to go
  • Caller ID which displays company information rather than an employees' personal info
  • An easy-to-use web portal that lets you configure and control features such as voicemail and corporate directories.

Unified Communications

With workers becoming more mobile -- through travel, customer visits, telecommuting, and flex schedules -- there's a growing need to unify business and cell phone service. Other mobile service providers aside from AT&T are also jumping on the unified bandwagon.

Back in May of this year, for example, T-Mobile formerly launched its Digits service which enables customers to use a single telephone number across multiple devices. It's essentially call-forwarding that lets an individual's work phone number be programmed to ring (call-forward) simultaneously to that person's smartphone, tablet, smart watch, and/or laptop.

The plan was for all T-Mobile numbers to be converted automatically to Digits and for the service to work even with phones that are not on the T-Mobile network.

The key advantage touted for enterprises and businesses owners is that the Digits service eliminates the need for people to carry two separate phones -- one for business, one for personal use. With Digits, instead of giving employees separate work devices, companies can pair workers' existing smartphones with their new work numbers.

While T-Mobile Digits and AT&T Collaborate offer different approaches, both aim to help businesses reduce costs while also improving customer service by making staffers more easy to reach.