The DMV will sell you a personalized license plate. Why won’t your carrier sell you a personalized dialing code? Starting Monday, Sprint will. It launched a service called StarStar Me that lets a customer select a vanity number up to nine digits long. When any customer on a major U.S. mobile carrier dials that code preceded by two asterisks, a call will automatically be placed to the code’s owner.
For instance, you could select your name “**KEVIN” or a pseudonym “**SHORTY” – assuming those monikers haven’t already been taken. The service costs $3 a month, and every Sprint customer can sign up for two StarStar Me codes. While the service appears to work on any mobile phone, there are some added benefits if you’re an Android phone owner. You can download an app from Google Play that gives customers a unique set of tools for their StarStar Me accounts.
Customers can use the app to automatically generate text messages to callers, and customize those messages by caller. The app could generate a busy notification or a link to the customer’s latest blog entry. Callers not identified in the phone’s contact list could receive a V-card with all of the customer’s contact info. Sprint said an iPhone app will be available in the iTunes store shortly.
StarStar Me is run by Zoove, which has built a suite of services around the dual-asterisk codes. It originally launched StarStar as a marketing and promotional platform for brands. For instance if you dial “**SUZUKI,” you get a text message with a link to a Suzuki YouTube video featuring its motorcycles. According to Zoove, however, Sprint is the first carrier to use its technology to create personalized dialing codes.