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History of Ringback Tones

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History of Ringback Tones

Dear All,

I am currently trying to find out some information on the history of ringback tones, and was wondering if anyone here might be able to assist with what has turned out to be a very dead-end-laden task!

Ultimately, I am desperately trying to find out why the UK has a different ringback tone to the rest of Europe. And I should, of course, define my use of "ringback tone", which I am using to mean the sound you hear when you are waiting for the recipient to pick up the receiver. As far as I can tell, there are only four ringback tone-types in the world: American, British, European and Japanese.

Of course, if someone is able to answer the question outright, then I would of course be very happy! However, on the basis that my experience thus far suggests that this is unlikely, does anyone maybe know the answers to some of the following side-line questions?

For example, on the basis that you'd logically expect different countries to have different ringback tones - why there isn't greater variation worldwide? This in itself suggests that whatever determines the ringback tone (the switching technology perhaps?) was installed uniformly over certain spans of the globe? If that is the case, then at what point did the whole of Europe become unified (especially given that Europe was hardly a unified force during the introduction of Strowger switches in the early 20th century)? And why didn't the UK join this unification? When did ringback tones come into use anyway? Were they in use when "telephone girls" used to manually connect lines?

I can find loads of literature on various technological elements of telephone switching systems, but nothing seems to cover this particular topic. It is quite annoying!!

If you have any answers or even just leads (no pun intended) that might help me, I would love to hear them.

Looking forward to your responses,
Kind regards,
Rob Jacobs

Andrewp's picture
wikipedia tells something

wikipedia tells something about ringback tones. You may have a check.