The telecom boom has got with it various innovative ways of offering new forms of entertainment. The most common feature that users demand is ringtones. A ringtone is just an alert to an incoming call or an SMS text message. But the mobile service providers have gone one step ahead in order to popularize their business and provide innovative ringtones to their subscribers. This has indeed lead to a great boost in the mobile phone business.
Initially, when the ringtones could not be downloaded directly from the Internet and the market penetration was less than it is now, ringtones would be passed on to users via text messages. It's still a very simple and easy form of sending ringtones, especially as many users still use old handsets. And with the popularity of this feature, it has evolved from a paid service to a free add-on feature to users.
The procedure for getting ringtones via text message is very simple. The service providers use a SMS number wherein any subscriber can send an SMS along with a 4-digit code of the requested ringtone. Once this SMS is sent, the service provider forwards the ringtone as a text message attachment to the user. The user then installs it on his or her handset and is free to use it as their ringtone. The users can also forward the same SMS to their friends. This is like a chain reaction and has lead to a phenomenal rise in the business of mobile service providers. It still remains a very popular way of sending ringtones around. But the only catch is that the user who originally requests the tone has to pay for it. However, from there, all the others who get it from the original user get it for free. So whole nothing in the world comes completely free, this is a case where it comes pretty close.