Sprint has announced that it will be the first wireless carrier to proved users with their own vanity numbers, through a partnership with Zoove, the creators of the "StarStar Me" service.
The "star star" numbers will cost an additional $3 a month, but they're highly customizable - they're not even limited to 10 digits like most phone numbers, and they apparently don't require an area code at all.
StarStar Me numbers begin with two asterisks - hence the "star star" - followed by any combination of five to 10 numbers.
Users can choose their names - an example would be **MICHAEL (though **MIKE is unfortunately too short) - but any string of characters will do.
StarStar Me: the next big thing?
When you call a StarStar Me number it causes a user's phone to ring, of course.
But it can also use a special app to send the caller an audio or text message linking to a social media or StarStar Me profile.
StarStar Me numbers are now available through Sprint, but Zoove CEO Joe Gillespie purportedly said that "the remaining three" (presumably referring to AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) will offer their own StarStar Me numbers by the first quarter of 2013.
It's unclear whether those deals have been inked, but Gillespie seems confident that StarStar Me numbers could be offered on all four carriers by then, "if not by the end of the year," he said.
We're calling **STARMAN right now
Before now, Zoove focused on offering StarStar Me numbers to businesses, but the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company reportedly said that it had been missing out on a big opportunity by not offering the numbers to individuals, as well.
Zoove reportedly has millions of combinations of StarStar Me identifiers available, having allocated mere thousands out to business so far.
That said, all the good ones will likely get taken early, so interested Sprint users should jump on board quickly.
You wouldn't want to get stuck with a random string of numbers, would you?