Ring-Back Tones Offered In Korea And Soon Japan

NTT DoCoMo is launching a ring-back tone service in which the customer customizes the sounds a caller hears between the time when they dial the subscriber’s number, and the time the subscriber picks up. The tones are MP3 quality, and replace the standard “brrr-brrr”. The iMode Melody Call service will launch in September with 3000 available tunes. DoCoMo’s service 16 months after the COLORing service by SK Telecom launched in April 2002. Prices are a couple of dollars for monthly subscription and about a buck each time you add a different tune. Some analysts have speculated that calling a friend and hearing Frank Sinatra instead of standard ring sounds is annoying. Those analysts should have a chat with the 7 Million customers at SK Telecom who are spending enough money on the service that it surpassed standard Ringtone revenues just eight months after launch. SKT now has over 61,000 tunes from which to choose. Korea’s KTF and LG Telecom also offer Ring-back services, launched later in 2002. Okay, I’m biased because I consult for SK Telecom, but I’m also sick and tired of seeing DoCoMo get all the credit just because the Korean firms lack Global PR. PS: Don’t be surprised if Ring-Back tones show up around the world quite quickly.

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