- How It All Began
- Get Your Fresh Hot Ringtones
- Are You Being Taken For A Ride?
- But Where Is This Going?
- Want to Make Some Money? Become a Cell Phone Company!
Get Your Fresh Hot Ringtones
Ringtones are readily available, especially now that most cell phones are connected to the Internet. As with almost everything cellular, the US is between three to five years behind many other countries, such as Japan, Finland, and South Korea. The people in these countries have enjoyed Internet access over their cell phones for quite some time and have been busy adding all sorts of gimmicks to their phones. The good news is that companies in the US are noticing the success of faster wireless networks in other countries. Companies such as Verizon are committed to bringing better wireless solutions to your cell phone.
Typically your phone will come with a collection of ringtones that you can choose from. Once you get tired of those, you should find an option that will allow you to browse a catalog of tones over the Internet. Quite literally, there are thousands of ringtones you can buy.
A ringtone is typically about 15-30 seconds in length. You don't want the tone to be too long, as its intent, ultimately, is to let you know to turn it off and listen to the caller.
My favorite place to shop is built right into my cell phone. Once I flip it open, I can be cruising through Cingular's catalog in minutes. Buying is really easy too. All I have to do is select "Buy" and I'll be charged for the tone on my next bill. The ringtone only takes a couple of seconds to down load, and all I have to do now is change my default tone to the new one I've bought.
Wow, it's so easy, you're thinking. There's got to be a catch.
Well there is a catch—and it's the way we are being hoodwinked by the telecommunication companies.
They make it so easy for us to do. Click, click, click. Buy, buy, buy. And this is exactly what Cingular, Nokia, and Sony want you to do.
Ringtones are big business. Really big business. Let's take an example: a squealing R2-D2. I am big Star Wars nut and fell for this one hook, line, and sinker. Cingular is running a huge Star Wars: Episode III tie-in with their cell phones. You can choose from dozens of ringtones, from snippets of John Williams' famous score, and Darth Vadar's heavy breathing, to the clashes of a light saber. Each tone costs $2.49, which doesn't sound like much until you start adding it up. If you think about it, the fifteen seconds of R2-D2 squealing on my phone is the equivalent of watching 50% of Episode III at a matinee. Throw in Darth's heavy breathing and I can watch the whole movie for the same cost as the matinee price.
It doesn't end there. It turns out that it is really hard to return a ringtone once you've purchased it. I've tried. When I called, the computers at Cingular would only calmly ask if I wanted to pay my bill. No amount of screaming would allow me to speak to an operator. Believe it or not, I really don't like the Star Wars ringtones I bought (though, the A-Team tone really rocks). But can I offload them? Looks like I'm out of luck.