Cell phone personalization has reached a whole new level with the growing popularity of free ringback ringtones. You now have yet another way to let your personalization come shining through with this innnovation mobile phone customization technique.
What Exactly is a Ringback?
While its name may lead you believe that a ringback is just another variation of a cell phone ringtone, it's actually a distinctly different thing.
Normally, when you call just about any number, you hear the standard ringing sound until the person on the other end picks up the phone. When you look into free ringback ringtones, incoming calls to your cell phone do not result in this standard ringing sound. Instead, people who call you will instead hear the equivalent of a custom ringtone, except over the phone. In this way, both the people around and the people calling you can get a sense of your unique personality and musical preferences.
Just with ringtones, ringbacks come in a huge variety of styles. You can even choose to change the ringback ringtones on your mobile phone to suit the season. When the kids go trick or treating, you can get some spooky music. When Santa gets ready to make his rounds and your house is decorated with mistletoe, you can use Christmas ringtones as your free ringback ringtones instead.
Do not confuse free ringback ringtones with ringback numbers. The former are used to replace the standard ringer that people hear when they call you. A ringback number, on the other hand, is a phone number that technicians can use to check if a new line is working correctly. When a technician calls a ringback number, hanging up briefly (flashing the line), and then hanging up completely, the phone will then ring, indicating the line is working.
Personalized Musical Tastes
You know how there are literally limitless MP3 and polyphonic ringtones out there for your personalization pleasure? Almost the same thing can be said about ringback ringtones. If you're feeling a little frisky, you can treat your callers to something from Elvis Presley. Teenagers and other Disney fans may prefer to use something from High School Musical. More in touch with Mario, Sonic, and Street Fighter? Be sure to check out some video game-themed ringbacks.
Do you have a favorite song or genre of music? There's a good chance that there is a ringback tone that suits your tastes.
Typical Price for a Ringback Service
Just as you'd expect with monthly voice plans, data fees, and other fees, each cell phone carrier has slightly different pricing when it comes to ringback services. That said, most fall into the same range, if not charging fees that are nearly identical.
When it comes to Verizon Wireless, there is a 99-cent monthly service subscription to use their ringback service. This is in addition to the $1.99 annual fee for each ringback ringtone that you use. For example, if you like to switch between three or four ringbacks over the course of a year, each of those would cost you $1.99 each, plus the 99 cents you'd pay each month for the subscription.
Similarly, Alltel charges a monthly fee of 99 cents, but this includes one complimentary ringback. Additional ringbacks cost up to $1.99 each and it appears that this fee is not on an annual basis, but rather for however long you'd like to use that ringback. In either case, it would be a good idea to confirm this with an Alltel representative before signing up.
Are There Any Free Ringback Ringtones?
Unfortunately, while free cell phone ringtone resources are relatively plentiful, the same cannot be said for free ringback ringtones. This is because the ringback is not actually stored on your own phone and you don't actually download anything. The ringback service is fully conducted from the end of your mobile operator, so they charge you for this service just as they would for voicemail, caller ID, text messages, and other services.
You may be able to find some free ringback ringtones as part of a promotion from one of these carriers, but the norm is that they would charge you a monthly fee.