So far, I have found two things for which mobile phones are really good: safety (as in “I am broken down in the middle of BFE, please come rescue me”) and courtesy/convenience (“I am am running late, be there in 20 minutes”). From a business standpoint, it also untethers you from your desk, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing – I LIKE to be out of touch when I am away from my desk.
But mostly people use mobile phones for really pointless, trivial blabbing about really pointless trivial things, i.e., a pointless expense. We dumped our service a few months ago as a result, and I haven’t missed it yet – I’d rather have the money. Of course with a baby due any day, if I was doing a lot of driving in the course of the day I would need to be reachable by phone. But I’m basically in the office – about one minute from home by car – all day so that isn’t much of an issue.
From the above you can probably tell that I simply don’t have a clue why people would pay actual money to “personalize” their ringtone with an articifical-sounding snippet of a pop song, or what-flipping-ever, but hey, I’m not a teenager and more power to them. Money is good:
- The sound of mobile ringing tones could be in for a big change if a new service proves as popular in Europe as it has been in South Korea.
Korean firm WiderThan’s service lets you choose what the person calling you hears when phoning.
“It replaces your normal dial tone with music or any kind of content you want,” said WiderThan’s Jonathan Kim.
The service has been very popular in South Korea, and could be offered by European mobile networks by mid-2004.
Launched 15 months ago in South Korea, the ring-back tone or tone replacement service, called Coloring, has made SK Telecom $100 million (£59 million), with 35% of their subscribers using it.
“It is definitely popular with teenagers,” Mr Kim, vice president of global marketing, told BBC News Online.
“But we have also found as the product matures a bit, it is popular with those in their 20s and 30s and even older users are using it”.
….Ringing tone replacement signals an evolution of the familiar ringing tone, according to Mr Buchanan, and another way to express personality and character through their gadgets.
“Our business is primarily humorous voice content which will much more applicable in Europe,” he said.
Already in the personalised voicemail market, Adviweb will be provide ringing tone replacements using professional celebrity sound-alikes who will record bespoke messages ordered by mobile owners.
But, if this kind of service does take off as predicted, it might take a while for people to understand what they are hearing is not a voicemail message.
“It is basically a holding ring until someone picks up the phone,” said Mr Buchanan. [BBC]