Ring tones keep the till ringing for telcos

Thomas K Thomas New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 22, 2013

The mobile operators earned Rs 8,185 cr just from Caller Ring Back Tone service over the past three years.


There is now a zing to the humble phone ring. You are most likely to hear a range music — from the popular Tamil Kolaveri Di to the latest from Justin Bieber or even cheeky one-liners saying, Jab Dekho Phone Kar Dete Ho (You keep calling me all the time).

Along with record companies telecom firms are laughing all the way to the bank as mobile users in their millions download music. According to the Department of Telecom, mobile operators earned Rs 8,185 crore just from Caller Ring Back Tone service over the past three years.

Idea Cellular, which was among the first to start the service in 2004, has raked in Rs 2,877 crore in the last three years, Bharti Airtel made Rs 2,088 crore. Other major revenue earners are Vodafone ( Rs 1,521 crore), BSNL ( Rs 689 crore), Tata Teleservices ( Rs 407 crore) and Aircel (Rs 230 crore)

“Caller Ring Back Tone has been the biggest revenue earner among all the value-added services offered by mobile operators. That’s because mobile subscribers use it to reflect his or her mood and personality through it,” said a Delhi-based mobile operator.

Mobile subscribers using this service pay a monthly fee of Rs 30, which is shared between the telecom operator and the music company. The trend is in line with the increased consumption of digital music, be it on social media platforms like YouTube or music Web sites. “The trend of digitalisation of music is picking up in a big way. Several artists are launching their works online for the first time. We have had several exclusive launches for famous singers and musicians as well,” Snehal Shinde, Co-Founder and CEO of music Web site , Dhingana, recently told Business Line.

The popularity of ring back tones has encouraged telecom companies to offer different versions of the service. Tata Teleservice, for example, has launched reverse ring-back tone service enabling callers to listen to song of one’s own choice at the time of calling anyone. When you make a call, you usually have to listen to someone’s caller tune that may not be to your taste so this service allows the user to set up three different songs for calling different people.


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Published on March 22, 2013
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