Introduce ringback tones to kill two birds with one stone

VoIP providers want two things - to provide their subscribers with communication service that leaves customers satisfied and to increase their bottom lines. Those priorities might seem difficult to balance. On one hand, consumers generally favor less expensive options and have grown fickle with their communication subscriptions. Increasing prices to generate additional revenue might be a mistake with budget-conscious buyers and cost operators valuable customers.

So how can service providers achieve both goals? Many operators choose to build out their communication networks with value-added services that don't directly boost subscription costs, but still encourage customers to spend more. Providers with the right tools in their VoIP architecture can support software features like ringback tones.

What is a ringback tone?

Separate from the sounds that people hear when their phones are ringing - ring tones - these melodies or messages are generated by a signaling capability at the network provider of the person who was called, and play over the line while a caller waits for the party on the other end to pick up. 

Service providers that have equipment capable of performing audio streaming can create various types of ringback tones, including sound effects, songs, voice messages, bars of music, multi-media messages or even personal records. These can be introduced to both mobile devices and fixed line numbers.

Ringback tones are taking off in certain foreign markets

An article that was recently published in The Hindu Business Line reported that the popularity of ringback tones has exploded in the country, as millions of users have purchased the sound bytes to give their phones a personal touch.

"Caller Ringback Tone has been the biggest revenue earner among all the value-added services offered by mobile operators," a Delhi-based mobile operator told the source. "That's because mobile subscribers use it to reflect his or her mood and personality through it."

These features have helped telecom providers in the country successfully monetize their networks, the news outlet adds. And in some cases, they have even found ways to capitalize on consumers' demand further. One provider, Tata Teleservice, has started to offer a reverse ringback tone that allows subscribers to listen to the songs or sounds of their choosing while they wait for a person to answer the phone.