Author Topic: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)  (Read 662 times)  

Online thesmallprint

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If things are still as I recall them from last time I called an American number from the UK, the ringtone is long, much longer than the UK tone.  Question: if my protag calls an American landline (fixed) number and the call has been diverted to a cellphone and the cellphone user is in the UK, what ringtone would my protag hear, the US one or the UK one?

Thanks in advance

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 12:47:15 PM »
I know very few people, other than businesses, who still use landlines. But, as far as forwarding is concerned, you hear one or maybe 2 rings, then the phone it's been forwarded to starts ringing.

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 02:23:57 PM »
Just wanted to mention, when people refer to a ringtone, I believe they're usually referring to what the owner of the phone hears as a signal that they're receiving a call, not what a person hears when the called they've dialed starts to ring through.
     

Offline Word Fan

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 02:45:10 PM »
I know very few people, other than businesses, who still use landlines.

Millions of people still do, depending upon the area of the U.S. and the cell service available. And there are a significant number of people, such as I, who are smart enough to have both. Don't write off landlines as story elements quite yet.

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 03:05:24 PM »
Millions of people still do, depending upon the area of the U.S. and the cell service available. And there are a significant number of people, such as I, who are smart enough to have both. Don't write off landlines as story elements quite yet.

Still have my landline too.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 04:49:21 PM »
Millions of people still do, depending upon the area of the U.S. and the cell service available. And there are a significant number of people, such as I, who are smart enough to have both. Don't write off landlines as story elements quite yet.
I would submit that in most areas a landline is a function of age, and/or how long someone has lived in a single location. I'm not arguing with you, but depending on the people in your story, something to keep in mind. I still have a landline at one of my homes, but the only reason is for the burglar alarm.

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Offline Jena H

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 04:52:31 PM »
Just wanted to mention, when people refer to a ringtone, I believe they're usually referring to what the owner of the phone hears as a signal that they're receiving a call, not what a person hears when the called they've dialed starts to ring through.

^ ^  This. 
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Offline Kyra Halland

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 05:11:09 PM »
Still have my landline too.

I still have my landline, too, because I don't like giving my cell phone number to people and then having them call me anywhere any time. My cell number is family/emergency contacts only.


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Offline Jena H

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 06:23:40 PM »
I still have my landline, too, because I don't like giving my cell phone number to people and then having them call me anywhere any time. My cell number is family/emergency contacts only.

Ditto.  Plus, even in bad storms--loss of power, whatever-- my landline still works.
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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 07:34:35 PM »
I know landline folks always get irked about writing off the landline, but it is a valid point to consider for the story not just in the states but many other countries were mobile phones dominate.

I'm not a young whippersnapper but where I live, I don't know anyone that uses a landline.  So I think a wordfan brought up a valid point that it depends on the region (rural vs urban, big city, vs small town, etc.).

And I also agree that ringtone is what I hear when someone calls me not the other way around.

If I recall the landline tone of a ringing phone varied upon the region, local call, vs. long distance call. And now tossing in that the call is being forwarded to a cell phone. There isn't just one universal tone to cover the entire country.

Offline SC

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 08:21:00 PM »
if my protag calls an American landline (fixed) number

Ha. It's curious to me that you call a landline a fixed number. I've had the same phone number for the past... oh, twenty years or so. Because it's my cell phone and has been my only phone for pretty much that long. If I'd had landlines everywhere I lived, I'd have had to change my phone number several times in that same period. Which, seems to me, means that my cell phone is a lot more fixed than a landline.

I still have my landline, too, because I don't like giving my cell phone number to people and then having them call me anywhere any time. My cell number is family/emergency contacts only.

Although that's a very good point and makes me reconsider the value of having a landline as a second phone. But I guess, why on earth would I pay extra for that? Oh well, it's a moot point at the moment for me.

Anyway, I can't actually help with the OP's question. I never really notice a difference in the ring I hear when I call someone, so I don't know what a landline vs. a cell sound like, and I don't think I've ever called someone in the UK. I didn't actually even know you could automatically transfer a call from a landline to a cell phone. I'm learning so much here.

Offline Lefevre

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 09:55:12 PM »
Everyone I associate with keeps their phones on vibrate. I live in a densly populated urban area, several people I encounter have song clips or annoying movie explosions for their ring tones. As far as the dial tone, it is always A440. In fact, if you know how to tune a guitar, you can use the dial tone to tune the A string, and then go from there.
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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 10:05:52 PM »
As a mystery/thriller writer, one interesting thing that could be a potential plot point concerning landlines, is that they are sometimes a requirement of parole. A parole officer may want his charge to have one so he/she might reach the parolee at a specific location. I a parole officer calls a cell, the miscreant can be anywhere and lie about it. But if a parolee answers a landline, it's pretty much a given where he/she is at the time.

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2017, 01:09:09 AM »
I know very few people, other than businesses, who still use landlines. But, as far as forwarding is concerned, you hear one or maybe 2 rings, then the phone it's been forwarded to starts ringing.
I only know one person who doesn't have a landline and always uses a mobile (cellphone). There are still quite a few places here in the UK where the signal is so bad, it is impossible to have a conversation.


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Online thesmallprint

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2017, 03:32:12 AM »
Thanks to everyone for contributing. Just to clarify, by ringtone I mean what the caller is hearing rather than the person called. When an American landline rings, that ringing carries on continuously for, I'd guess up to two seconds before a brief pause then the next ring begins and so on. When a UK landline or cell/mobile rings, the breaks in that ring are much more frequent - three to four times more than an American ringtone at a guess.

The plot point hinges on the protag remembering that the suspect had given him his office number in America to call (from the UK) on the night of the crime. The giving of the number was meant to establish an alibi but the protag later recalls that the tone he heard was a British one (because the perp had forwarded his calls to his cell). I believe that this would be the way the international telephone systems would handle such a call, but just wanted to check if anyone could confirm. Thanks again.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2017, 03:38:02 AM »
I only know one person who doesn't have a landline and always uses a mobile (cellphone). There are still quite a few places here in the UK where the signal is so bad, it is impossible to have a conversation.
Here in the States, I only run into this in mountainous areas. As to the issue of a "fixed" number mentioned above, in the U.S., mobile numbers are more fixed. The number I was assigned for my first mobile (cell) phone eleven years ago is transferable if I change phone carriers and/or move all the way across the country. My area code is for an area 2,000 miles from where I live. For a landline, if I move out of the area code, I have to get a new number.

As I said above, use of landlines by younger people is almost nonexistent, at least in cities. Ask any college student what their landline number is, and you'll probably just get a quizzical expression. Why pay for a second phone?

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Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2017, 05:10:46 AM »
I don't live in a mountainous area, and I still have a landline. We're rural, with only a few cell towers so reception is bad for cell phones. Without a landline, we'd have no access to emergency services because you'd have to go down the road to get reception on a cell. Plus, our Internet is done over those old-fashioned phone lines, and getting rid of the phone service makes it cost a lot more. Many of us can't afford satellite Internet, either.

So, even though some of you can't imagine such a Luddite life, many people even in America are using the old tech, some out of preference and some out of necessity.

As to the OP's questions, I don't know about forwarding calls to cell or otherwise, as I haven't done it in years, but the ringing sound doesn't last that long when calling, not nearly two seconds.
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Offline lincolnjcole

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2017, 05:43:10 AM »
I know very few people, other than businesses, who still use landlines. But, as far as forwarding is concerned, you hear one or maybe 2 rings, then the phone it's been forwarded to starts ringing.

Yeah, most businesses even dropped them.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2017, 06:27:57 AM »
Yeah, most businesses even dropped them.
If you're in most metro areas, businesses have gone to VOIP - internet phones.

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Offline doctorshevil

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2017, 06:37:30 AM »
Thanks to everyone for contributing. Just to clarify, by ringtone I mean what the caller is hearing rather than the person called. When an American landline rings, that ringing carries on continuously for, I'd guess up to two seconds before a brief pause then the next ring begins and so on. When a UK landline or cell/mobile rings, the breaks in that ring are much more frequent - three to four times more than an American ringtone at a guess.

The plot point hinges on the protag remembering that the suspect had given him his office number in America to call (from the UK) on the night of the crime. The giving of the number was meant to establish an alibi but the protag later recalls that the tone he heard was a British one (because the perp had forwarded his calls to his cell). I believe that this would be the way the international telephone systems would handle such a call, but just wanted to check if anyone could confirm. Thanks again.

I noticed no one has answered this specific question, and I myself have no idea. Perhaps you could set this up with some people from this forum to test out the situation you're planning?

Offline Linjeakel

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2017, 07:08:32 AM »
I think you're correct in the difference that the caller hears - US phones have one longish ring followed by a pause, repeated. A UK phone has two short rings, followed by a pause, repeated.

If a call to a US landline were fowarded to a cell/mobile in the UK, I think you would hear the US long tones then after a few rings a click or pause as it was transferred, then you'd hear the tone of the cell/mobile. What that sounded like might depend on whether it was a US account or a UK one. The point is, either way you'd probably be able to tell it was being forwarded, thus putting at doubt the location of the person being phoned.
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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2017, 07:48:17 AM »
Here in the States, I only run into this in mountainous areas. As to the issue of a "fixed" number mentioned above, in the U.S., mobile numbers are more fixed. The number I was assigned for my first mobile (cell) phone eleven years ago is transferable if I change phone carriers and/or move all the way across the country. My area code is for an area 2,000 miles from where I live. For a landline, if I move out of the area code, I have to get a new number.

As I said above, use of landlines by younger people is almost nonexistent, at least in cities. Ask any college student what their landline number is, and you'll probably just get a quizzical expression. Why pay for a second phone?

Unfortunately, here most broadband internet services have to connect to a landline, so you are stuck if you want to use the internet. I would love to get rid of the landline, but I can't because of that.


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Offline SC

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2017, 07:51:43 AM »
The plot point hinges on the protag remembering that the suspect had given him his office number in America to call (from the UK) on the night of the crime.

Oh, well, if it's an office phone, that's much more common. As far as I know, most businesses and other employers (that aren't out in the field types of jobs) have landlines. So that's totally normal. (Granted, I work for the government, which is chronically behind when it comes to technology, but my workplace just paid a whole bunch of money for a brand new landline system, so YMMV as far as that goes.)

As I said above, use of landlines by younger people is almost nonexistent, at least in cities. Ask any college student what their landline number is, and you'll probably just get a quizzical expression. Why pay for a second phone?

Not even that young. I'm in my mid-30s and I haven't had a (home) landline since the one in my freshman college dorm that I never used. But then I can't understand why anyone still pays for cable TV when we have the internet either.

Offline ImaWriter

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2017, 08:21:20 AM »
Just to clarify, by ringtone I mean what the caller is hearing rather than the person called.

That's a dial tone, not a ring tone. The caller, with their phone pressed to their ear, or on speaker, hears a dial tone. The person on the receiving end of the call hears a ring tone.

The sequence/length of the tone won't matter to a lot of readers. You'll have lost them by calling a dial tone a ring tone. For many, many people--and yes, this is generational--a ring tone (ringtone) is the cutesy/obnoxious sound/song you've attached to a contact. And depending on your provider and phone, that can be done on both landlines and cell phones.

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Re: Question on American ringtones and diverted calls (Mystery novel)
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2017, 10:05:56 AM »
That's a dial tone, not a ring tone. The caller, with their phone pressed to their ear, or on speaker, hears a dial tone. The person on the receiving end of the call hears a ring tone.

I could be wrong, but i always thought of a dial tone as the flat single held note one hears on a landline when one picks up the receiver alerting the individual to the fact that the phone is live. No dial tone, and that means the phone is dead or the line had been cut. Then you dial and you hear a "ringing signal" or a "busy signal" if the line you are calling is in use.