Sprint launches $3 per month vanity phone number feature
Forget about vanity plates for your car, how about a vanity phone number where all your friends can reach you? Sprint said Monday said it will be the first major U.S. carrier to offer StarStar Me, a new service from a company called Zoove that lets you create a personalized 5-to-9 digit number preceded by two '*' symbols.
The number can be anything you want, including digits that correspond to your regular name, online pseudonym, or nickname.
Similar to unique e-mail addresses, the StarStar number you want may already be in use, so make sure you have a few alternatives in mind when you sign up for the service.
A StarStar number doesn't replace your original phone number since it can only be called from mobile phones on Sprint, or other major cellular networks including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Calls from landlines, mobile phones on roaming, and handsets from smaller carriers are not supported. Regular SMS messages to your StarStar number also won't work.
StarStar Me will set you back $3 per month, and current Sprint customers can sign up at StarStar.Me. If you own an Android phone, you can also send a text to **ME (**63) to download a dedicated app for the service--an iOS app is also on the way. Sprint allows two vanity numbers per regular mobile phone number.
How it works
When someone wants to call your vanity number all they have to do is tap in '**' followed by your number or use the corresponding letters such as 'a', 'b', or 'c' for the number 2. The StarStar number is then rerouted to your regular phone number allowing you to receive the call.
Beware of pausesAndroid users who have the StarStar smartphone app can either choose to take the call, or use the app to respond with an audio note or text message such as “Can't talk right now” or “Driving.” You also can respond with a link to a social networking profile or personal Website when using the app. The app can also block specific phone numbers from calling your StarStar number. If you don't use the StarStar app all you can do is receive or ignore phone calls.
Sprint warns that some people calling your new vanity number may feel like their phones are locking up. Typing '**' into some phones too quickly or too slowly can invoke a special pause function. The pause function is often used for so-called pause dialing to call a number that has an automated assistant.
Including a pause allows you to enter an access code at the same time you dial the number without confusing the network or the system on the other end. That can be a handy trick for tasks such as dialing a voice mail number and entering a PIN at the same time you dial instead of waiting for the prompt.
If your phone locks up when calling a StarStar number, you should be able to solve the problem by waiting a few seconds between star key presses.