Sprint Rolls Out Vanity Phone Numbers that Connect to Social Profiles

Sprint is doing for mobile phone numbers what internet handles did for electronic mail. For $3 a month, customers can register for a personalized cell phone number.

All the numbers begin with two asterisks and end with a name or another word between 5 and 9 letters or numbers.

The StarStar app can send audio or text responses for missed calls, share contact information, and block incoming calls. The phone numbers are linked to a social media or StarStar profile.

Vanity numbers were a stroke of genius in the days when people had to memorize seven digits, sometimes more, to be able to dial someone from a pay phone. Spelling out words instead of numbers (1-800-flowers, for instance), the handles served as handy mnemonic devices.

When the mobile phone brought portable contact lists into our lives, we promptly forgot every phone number we ever learned — even our own.

Sprint’s new StarStar numbers might sound old-fashioned, but the carrier’s contact lists are a beast to sort through (at least they are on the HTC EVO 4G). Simpler numbers should help.

According to AllThingsD, Sprint got the numbers from Zoove, a company in Palo Alto, CA that has millions of them and has been selling the numbers to businesses.

The vanity numbers are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Online Marketing

Online MarketingStarting November 4, learn how to launch a successful digital marketing campaign for your brand! In this course, you'll learn how to create an online marketing strategy, identify the appropriate distribution platforms, and use the web to successfully deliver your brand's message. Register now!