Eric Morgan asked:
Forget the days of hearing that generic cell phone ring that made you anxiously reach into your purse and fumble for your phone. In today’s age of individualization, no one has reason to suffer through homogenous rings with the abundant supply of websites and providers that offer ringtones that can personalize your otherwise ordinary cell phone. Have a song that you love to listen to? Hop online and search for that specific tune and chances are you’ll find a ringtone to go with it. Then, customize the ringtone to play only the part you want to hear when friends call - or, assign a specific ringtone to one particular person. The options are endless.
There are only a few criteria to consider when choosing what website to download ringtones from. First, be sure that your cell phone is compatible with the ringtone you’ve chosen. Verizon users, for example, can be assured that any tune downloaded from Verizon’s website will work with their phone. If you’re considering using any other website or service, be sure to check and see that your phone will be capable of receiving and playing your ringtone. Secondly, be sure that sound quality is acceptable. Most websites will allow you to preview a ringtone before making a purchase. Thirdly, make sure that you understand how and when you will be charged for your purchase. Most major service providers will add any ringtone purchases to your next month’s bill. Once you have these three bases covered, hop online and get ready to jazz up your cell phone!
SouthernLINC Wireless offers a broad range of ringtones, wallpapers, calltones and applications. Many users will find that in order to download much of the offered content, they will need to perform a software upgrade on their phones; this is easily accomplished by visiting Motorola’s website and installing the necessary upgrades for the relevant model phone. Like other providers, SouthernLINC allows subscribers to choose from excerpted music, polyphonic rings, celebrity voices and unique sounds for ringtones. Ringtones cost $1.99 for the one-time download fee and are yours to keep for an unlimited amount of time. For phones that are capable of supporting digital content, SouthernLINC offers a plethora of applications that are unique amongst its competitors. Users can choose from financial solutions content, navigation and direction software, sports & entertainment platforms, and news & weather sources, just to name a few. Browsing for content for your specific phone model is easy with SouthernLINC’s handy filter feature. Customers can access all available downloads by visiting the “Browser Apps” function on a mobile device or on SouthernLINC’s website. Cell phone subscribers will appreciate SouthernLINC’s user-friendly purchasing process. When you are ready to buy a ringtone, application, or game, you can preview your purchase, click the “go” button, enter your phone number and you’re finished. Within a few minutes, you’ll receive a text message with a link to the tone or application and directions for installing it onto your phone.
Similar to SouthernLINC, Sprint Mobile also offers a variety of personalized ringtones (called ringers) and calltones through its website and cellular phones. Unlike other cellular providers, Sprint offers subscribers a free ringer for the holidays on its website. Sprint’s ringer webpage, Digital Lounge, resembles any other online CD or music website with its sophisticated filter and search functions, graphical CD covers, and all of the hottest music. Sprint’s genres are expansive and appeal to nearly every consumer group by including everything from “Indie Greats” to “Songs for Baby Boomers.” Downloads from the Digital Lounge are $2.50 and appear on Sprint’s monthly bills. The Digital Lounge offers much more than just ringers; you’ll also find screensavers, themes and games. One unique feature in the Digital Lounge is the Content Manager, where subscribers can organize all of their downloads, preview audio clips of ringers and call tones, watch previews of new television shows, and resend purchases to new phones after upgrading cell phone models.
T-Mobile offers subscribers a variety of ringtone options, including MegaTones, instrumental ringtones of favorite songs; HiFi Ringers, short clips of actual artist recordings; and CallerTunes, ringback tones that callers hear when calling your phone. MegaTones downloads are $1.99 each and can be downloaded by going to “t-zones” on your ringtone-capable phone and browsing the MegaTones category or by logging onto My T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s HiFi Ringers are excerpts from hit songs by today’s top-selling artists at $2.49 each. CallerTunes allow you to entertain your callers by playing excerpts from original artist recordings - and, you can set different CallerTunes for different people. For only $1.49 a month, you can download and store up to 15 CallerTunes; or, for $1.99 per tune, you can choose your tunes for a one-time download fee.
Verizon also offers thousands of ringtones and ringback tones for download. Verizon calls its ringtones VZW Tones, which are available on all Get It Now enabled cellular phones or online at Verizon’s website. Verizon phones and its website allow users to preview ringtones and browse by different categories (like “What’s Hot” and “What’s New). Ringtones are handset specific, so before purchasing a ringtone, be sure to check that your phone is compatible with your chosen tunes. When ready to purchase, users can preview ringtones, add to an online cart, and agree to have the $2.99 fee added to his/her next bill. Each ringtone is available for $2.99. Although it’s tempting to search for free ringtone downloads on the plethora of ringtone websites out there, users should beware: Verizon blocks ringtones from any site other than its “Get It Now” platform from downloading to any of its phones.
AT&T (formerly Cingular Wireless)
AT&T offers subscribers the option to join the Tone Club, a service that allows you to download ringtones every month at a discount. Subscribers can choose from a 3- , 6-, or 9-pack set. This service is available as a monthly subscription that ranges from $5.99 to $9.99 per month. Charges incurred from the Tone Club appear on monthly bills. AT&T also offers a MyMEdia Club, a feature that you can add to your account that allows you to download ringtones, graphics and games from the AT&T Media Mall or directly from your phone for a monthly subscription fee that ranges from $5.99 to $14.99. To download ringtones from AT&T, first ensure that you have a compatible phone (visit the AT&T website to search for your phone and ensure that you have a model that will support the ringtones you want). For those who aren’t interested in a subscription service, you can purchase ringtones a la carte for a one-time fee of $2.49; AT&T also charges for the number of kilobytes or minutes used for the download. Charges for ringtones are reflected on monthly wireless bills. AT&T customers can search for ringtones in one of three ways: online at the AT&T Wireless website, on cellular phones via Media Net (your wireless phone’s version of the internet), or via text messaging. Once the ringtone is transmitted to your phone, you’ll receive a series of prompts that will indicate how to save your ringtone as a default or a specific setting.
Cricket offers countless downloads through its web browsers on all web-enabled phones, allowing Cricket users to customize their phones with the hottest games, tunes and applications around. To make buying even easier, Cricket offers a simple click and buy process on its mobile phones, allowing customers to easily purchase and install their downloads in just a few short minutes. For customers who are unsure if their phone supports downloads, be sure to visit Cricket’s website and view the list of compatible phones, which include Kyocera, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung models.
Other Download Sources
Of course cell phone users aren’t limited to their service providers for the latest in ringtones. Music-based websites like MTV, iTunes and Vh1 are cashing in on consumers urges to personalize their mobile phones by offering excusive ringtones, graphics and games. Vh1, for instance, offers ringtones from many of its popular shows, content that is not available through any of the major wireless carriers. In order to download content from VH1, you must be a T-Mobile, Cingular, or AT&T subscriber and have a phone that can play either polyphonic tones or digitones, depending on what you are purchasing. The good news for consumers is that they will not be charged for purchasing an application or ringtone that isn’t compatible with their phone. Ringtones from VH1 are $1.99 each.
MTV and iTunes offer the latest in ringtone content by updating their websites daily. To date, Verizon, Cingular, T-Mobile and Sprint customers can purchase from the MTV mobile store. iTunes, the behemoth of all online music providers, offers an extensive library of ringtones that are only compatible with Apple’s iPhone, serviced through AT&T Wireless. These ringtones are $0.99 each. iTunes allows you to create ringtones from songs in the iTunes Store or your music library. Newer arrivals to the ringtone scene include Jamster.com, Mixxer.com, Thumbplay.com, and Flycell.com, all of which provide membership/subscription plans and a huge variety of genres from which to pick. Users of all major carriers can easily be accommodated by one of these websites.
*Not responsible for pricing as they change often, visit the websites to get current pricing and offerings information.