To give you a simple description, ringback tones are the sound that you hear when you call someone while waiting for them to pick up. It is usually just a “ringing” sound. However, nowadays, with the help of a ring back tone system, you are able to customize this sound so that your callers will hear a different sound or even a song while they are waiting for you to pick up your phone.
For a more technical description, according to Wikipedia, the ringback tone is an audible indication that is heard on the telephone line by the caller while the phone they called is still in use. It is normally a repeated tone, designed to assure the calling party that the called party’s line is ringing, although the ring-back tone may be out of sync with the ringing signal.
Most of us commonly mistake ringtones and ringback tones as two similar things. However, these two are entirely different. Ringtones can be controlled by you on your cellphone, but ringback tones can only be controlled by your carrier (or a third-party application). Another major difference is that unlike ringtones, it is not that easy to acquire a free ringback tone. Also, we cannot create our very own ringback tones. This is due to the fact that the service carriers have not created a system that permits users to send sound file to the server where they will be played on your caller’s cellphone. Simply put, downloading a ringback tone does not necessarily download that (ringback tone) to your cellphone like it does when you download ringtones. When you download a ringback tone, it means that the tone is downloaded to your cellphone carrier’s server, wherein they will have access to play the tone whenever someone is trying to connect to your cellphone number.
Perhaps the best part about ringback tones is that you can customize them on your phone so that different people who call will be able to hear different tones. You can choose happy and fun tunes for your friends or you can even choose specific tunes for your family members so that you will know that it is them who are calling you. You can even customize your ringback tones at certain times of the day. For instance, one ringback tone will play while you are in school or at work, one while you are at home, or even another specific one while you are sleeping.