TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: 'Ringback' Tones May Be Next Big Thing

'Ringback' Tones May Be Next Big Thing

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 28 Nov 2004 22:23:40 -0500

By BRUCE MEYERSON AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ring tones are so yesterday. If wireless companies
have their way, the next multibillion-dollar surprise in the cellular
business will be "Ringback" tones.

Instead of the usual dialing noise that people hear when phoning
someone, callers to Verizon Wireless subscribers may soon find
themselves listening to a song until the phone is answered.

The service, pioneered by SK Telecom of Korea, is debuting in the
United States in California and is slated to be available nationally
by mid-2005.

Verizon Wireless, a partnership between Verizon Communications Inc.
and Vodafone Group PLC, is charging 99 cents per month plus an annual
fee of $1.99 for each Ringback Tone chosen. Other U.S. carriers are
said to be considering a similar service.

Verizon subscribers can assign specific tunes for different callers
to hear, choosing among 2,200 songs from 13 music genres provided by
Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

SK Telcom, which developed the technology being used by Verizon,
introduced its "ColoRing" service in Korea two years ago and has
since licensed it to carriers in Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines
and Indonesia.


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