Ringback Tones

What are Ringback Tones?

You know, the minute that I heard about ringback tones, I was hooked. For ages I had used ringtones on my phone, I made ringtones, uploaded them, found mixing programs, sent ringtones to all my friends ... But I think everyone got a little bored with my obsession about ringtones.

That's why I was so excited when Verizon (my current wireless provider) started offering ringback tones. So that was quite a while ago, I can't remember exactly when I heard about them first. If I remember right, they came out in a few test markets in the US first, then it seems that Asia picked up on them and they started to take off there before returning to the US as an actual service that you could subscribe to.

I think ringback tones are cool just because it's a reflection of me. I can listen to what I want any time I want on my ipod, I don't need to have someone call me so my ringtone can start playing. So ringbacks are cool because I pick them, but then it's my callers that hear them. Yep, that's right, I don't even hear them anymore. If you've never heard of them, you must be thinking that's kind of weird - why would I pay for a service that I don't even hear. Well, not so weird, it's really pretty much the same as recording a cool answering machine message. Except you pick a song, and instead of playing after the phone picks up (ie the answering machine message), the ringback tone plays while the caller is waiting either for me to pick up, or for the answering service to pick up.

One of the coolest things I love about ringback tones is that I can pick more than one and program who I want to hear it.  Or I could pick a different song for different times of the day.

So it seems that even if you're not with the Verizon Wireless ringback tones program, say you are with AT&T or T-Mobile, you are still in luck. The other systems have different names for their ringback tones, from what I heard. I think that the AT&T network calls them caller Answer Tones, and T-Mobile calls their system Caller Tunes.

As can be expected, the selection of songs available is pretty targeted towards the pop, hip-hop, and R&B segments, although you can find a good selection from the other mainstream genres - classic, rock, rock and roll, country, etc, as well as some select sound bytes.

I guess the thing that I really wish would change with ringback tones is the ability to customize. Mixing my own ringbacktones like I used to mix ringtones would just be awesome. The problem is though that they are stored on the cellphone carriers server rather than your cellphone, and they haven't allowed subscribers to upload (yet).
So that does that mean? Well, unfortunately it means that your carrier is going to charge you to use them ... it looks like there are no free ringback tones on the near horizon, you are stuck with paying a subscription rate of $1.99 per tone in most cases, along with a subscription fee.

Well, enough chit chat, I just wanted to get my hobby site on ringback tones up and running, I'm going to do some official research and maybe collect some real stats, and maybe even some ringback tones tutorials for helping other people get set up to use these cool cellphone features.


Cingular Ringback Tones

actually, since Cingular was renamed AT&T Mobility in early 2007, the Cingular and AT&T ringback tones are both referred to as "Answer Tones"

T Mobile Ringback Tones

T-Mobile ringback tones are called Caller Tunes - sign up for the service for $1.49 per month, then buy individual tones that you want for your account. Tones expire, so make sure you know how long your tone will last when you buy it.

Verizon Wireless Ringback Tones

The biggest of them all Verizon Wireless has the orginal RINGBACK TONES. Signing up for their service will cost $1.99 per month, plus $1.99 per ringback. Look for packages or $.99 cent specials which will keep the cost down for your verizon ringback tones.

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