Dial A Number, Hear An Ad, Complete The Call…

We’ve seen some pretty creative ways to fit advertising into the mobile landscape. From making your friends listen to advertisements before being connected to you, to agreeing to receive several SMS messages per day for a small commission. What about listening to a short advertisement every time you make a call on your cell phone, why hasn’t this been done before? Is it worth it?

A company called AirVoice Infocom has applied for patents for a technology they’ve developed that inserts ads before a call is connected via cell phone networks. The 15-20 second ads are played after dialing the number, and play until your call is answered. It seems like this would have been the first obvious location to place ads in the “calling process” but seems to have never been done before.

The service is subscription based and will offer several options to subscribers in terms of the type of advertisements they wish to hear, when they would want to hear the ads, and also the option to skip an advertisement if they choose. AirVoice says that since the subscription is at the user’s will, the model is “non-intrusive.”

The system works by “…integrating the mobile switching centers of Telecom service providers with the high-end technology created by Airvoice, thereby allowing a smooth transition between the advertisement and the call…” Since the technology is pending a patent, the company hopes to corner the market and secure deals with the major networks. The company is currently focusing on the estimated 250 million mobile users in India at the moment, but has plans to grow quickly worldwide. They cite several reasons for choosing to go with advertisements played over the phone itself, instead of the more traditional SMS marketing models. Things like low interactivity, and high bandwidth usage were the main reasons.

The service is set to launch in Q2 2008, and there’s been no mention of the revenue-share figures, but what do you think? Would you put up with listening to ads before your calls are connected? For me, it would depend on just how much you earn for listening to them, and whether or not it lowers you monthly bill.