Cell phone companies use various techniques in order to draw customers in and then keep customers interested in their products. Sprint PCS is offering its members ten free ring tones through an advertisement on their website: Step one – enter your phone number; Step two – confirm your Pin; Step three- get your ring tones. It seems easy enough, but I couldn’t help but noticing the little text bubble in the top right hand corner that mentions “$9.99 per month with Thumbplay”. If Columbia House has taught marketers anything, it is to give something free for the promise of spending money later.
Don’t blame Sprint, though. I see logos for AT&T, Cingular, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile decorating the bottom of the page, so they aren’t in this thing alone. And you can’t say it isn’t a good marketing strategy because free for the price of a promise works on the best of us.
It seems that Sprint is quite unoriginal in that each link to downloading ring tones for Sprint phones leads to a Google search. I could have done that myself – if I am on the Sprint website, it is because I want said phone company to aid in my search the perfect tone. It took me a few tries to find Sprint’s actual section for downloading ring tones – you have to find the one ring tone link that doesn’t take you to Google. Maybe Sprint is trying to make my cell phone experience more of an adventure?
In any case, these tones can be downloaded from the internet directly to your phone if your phone is registered with the Spicy Mint Monthly Value Plan for $9.99 per month. It seems Spicy Mint will send you a password for the ring tone if you type in your phone number on the website. I don’t know about you, but if I saw someone called Spicy Mint trying to send me a message, I would steer clear of it. At least you can preview what you requesting a password for on the internet before you get stuck with Spicy Mint tossing some horrible excuse for music in your ear at every call.
Like most companies, Sprint offers Real Tones (songs as they were created by artists but shortened into a clip to be used as a ring tone), Polyphonic Tones (lots of beeping and simplistic melodies) and something only described as Sounds (which turns out to be various gun shot sounds, motors, diarrhoea dogs, and other things I just don’t want to get into). Needless to say, the internet has a lot of weird things, and you should expect strange things on every page, even that of your cell phone provider.