Idea Cellular has announced the launch of something a little more to my liking than Caller Ringback Tones (CRBTs): Pretones, which would allow users to listen to content while calling someone up, instead of a ring. Priced at Re. 1 per day (appears to be a Rs. 30/month subscription), customers can subscribe by dialling 55955. Pretones have been launched in partnership with Oorja Mobile Services, a One97 Communications company. Users can subscribe to content like live Cricket updates, jokes, breaking news, astrology forecast, movie reviews and Bollywood updates while making a call. So what happens if the person whom you're calling picks up the phone before the punch line? You can call resume listening to the content by calling 55955 after the call is completed. Speaking with MediaNama, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, MD of One97 Communications (who also refers to himself as Product Manager for Oorja) explained that people aren't really dialing into voice portals now, even if they have subscribed for access. Pretones address this issue by offering consumers a subscription based a la carte model, wherein the consumer doesn't really need to remember which short code to dial. This is the monetization of small clips of content, and it is being deployed by Idea Cellular across the country. Pretones are, in a sense, antithetical to CRBTs. What happens when someone who has a Pretone installed calls someone who has a CRBT? Sharma says that operators have the option of either masking the CRBT or first allow a Pretone then…
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