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A SMART gift: Caller ring tunes

JUNE 2004/ MANILA. First, it was Pasa Load. Now, SMART subscribers can "give" a ring tune.

Smart Communications Inc. (SMART) has come up with another world-first that allows subscribers to send a caller ring tune over-the-air to any SMART Gold, Addict Mobile, Buddy and Talk 'N Text user.

This feature of Caller Ringtunes, a calling technology pioneered by SMART, is an inexpensive and hassle-free way of gift-giving, said Edgardo R. Bautista, SMART Group Head for Mobile Value Added Services Operations and Development.

"It's so easy to send a ring tune over-the-air to someone than going to a department store to select , buy and wrap a gift before giving it or having it sent to the recipient," he said.

Caller Ringtunes provides an alternative to the monotone that callers normally hear while waiting for their call to be answered. Postpaid and prepaid users can choose from instrumentals, pop songs, OPM songs, sound effects, famous lines from hit movies and jokes.

Once subscribers have selected a ring tune, they can send it as a gift by keying in RING GIFT <ring ID> <mobile number> and sending it to 286. The giver is charged P30 per ring tune download.

The success of Pasa Load, the service which allows subscribers to give airtime over-the-air, shows that Filipinos do not think twice about giving to people who matter to them, Bautista said.

"Filipinos are fun-loving. Ring tunes allow them to entertain their callers, project an image according to their mood and express their feelings. And it's so convenient. Caller Ringtunes is available to all subscribers since it is network-based and can be downloaded using any phone," he added.

The introduction of Caller ID and time-based feature has also contributed to the success of Caller Ringtunes. Launched only last January, the service is now being used by over 750,000 subscribers.

Caller ID allows a subscriber to assign a ring tune to a caller. Thus, it is not farfetched for a subscriber to pick a romantic song for a love interest, the sound of a dog barking for a dog lover and a zany movie line for the movie buff.

The time-based feature, on the other hand, allows a subscriber to pick a ring tune that will be heard by callers at a specified time. A busy executive who wants to discourage calls late at night can subtly remind callers of the lateness of the hour by picking a lullaby for a ring tune from 10 p.m. till 6 a.m. the following day.

It's easy to avail of these features. First, SMART prepaid and postpaid subscribers must choose a ring tune. They can download a list by sending WHATSNEW to 286 for the latest ring tunes or key in HOTPICKS to 286 to get the top 10 downloaded ring tunes.

The most popular selections of ring tunes are likewise made available for pre-listening and downloading through the tech experience stations and download kiosks found in participating SMART Wireless Centers.

Once they've chosen a ring tune, subscribers can assign it to a caller by sending RING ADD <ring ID> <mobile number> to 286. They can assign a ring tune to a maximum of 50 callers.

To use the time-based feature, SMART subscribers simply key in RING ADD <ring ID> <start time> <end time>.

Subscribers are notified 3 days before the date of expiry via a text message so that they can decide whether or not to renew their subscription of the ring tune. To renew, they simply send RING RENEW <Ring ID> to 286. The specified ring tune shall be valid for another two months.

SMART is the first local mobile phone operator to bring the new calling technology to the Philippines.

The leading wireless services provider has pioneered several hit services, including SMART Load, its over-the-air prepaid reloading service, which has garnered several awards, the most recent of which was for innovation by the GSM Association (GSMA) at the world congress in Cannes, France.

Source: Smart Communications, Inc. Press Release

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