AT&T Partners With MSpot For Custom Ringtones
Make-UR-Tones lets users create one- to 30-second ringtones from more than 250,000 full tracks from major labels including EMI Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The mSpot service costs $6.99 a month for three ringtones, with additional ones priced at $2.99 each.
The ringtone service is available on the Samsung SYNC, Samsung A737, Samsung A747 and the Motorola V3xx, and will expand to additional phones in the near future.
The Remix application allows subscribers to download up to 75 tracks over-the-air from home computers for $9.99 a month. An extra 10-pack of songs is $2.99 and the service is being offered on the Samsung SYNC and A737 handsets and the LG Shine.
With the rise of unlimited voice and data plans, however, charging extra for music and other services seems a more questionable strategy than ever for wireless carriers. It may be smarter for AT&T and other operators to fold new content offerings into existing data plans to encourage new subscriptions.
"If consumers are confused about what they're paying for or when they pay, the default is to hold back," said John du Pre Gauntt, a senior analyst at eMarketer who covers the mobile industry.
AT&T should learn from its experience with the iPhone. In addition to the user-friendly innovations of the Apple device, its $60-per-month unlimited data plan was a key to opening up mobile content to consumers.
Nearly three-quarters of iPhone subscribers listen to music on their phones, compared to only 6.7% among mobile customers on average, according to a January study by M:Metrics. Usage rates for mobile video and other non-voice activities were also far higher on the iPhone than the market average.
And while AT&T has introduced a $99.99 unlimited calling plan, it hasn't yet gone as far as Sprint in offering an all-you-can-eat voice and data plan. Maybe it will once it realizes that trying to squeeze a few extra bucks out of customers is a short-sighted strategy.
Separately, AT&T said Thursday it plans to make its Napster Mobile music service more widely available. Launched last November on the Samsung SLM, the service will be offered across a variety of AT&T handsets, with a total of 12 million subscribers.