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Vodafone offers unlimited mobile music download by Christmas 2007

14 September, 2007

Vodafone, the wireless carrier of the United Kingdom, plans to launch an unlimited mobile music download service for a fixed rate of about $4 a week in time for Christmas in 2007.

Through an agreement with the United Kingdom-based mobile music company Omnifone, users will be able to share playlists and tracks with other people at a fixed rate of £1.99 a week.

Consumers can, using Omnifone’s MusicStation platform, choose from a catalogue of more than one million songs from major music labels such as
EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and the Warner Music Group as well as independent labels.

The service will be accessible on a new range of Vodafone handsets, to be launched prior to Christmas, as well as the existing 2.5G and 3G mobiles. Rob Lewis, CEO of Omnifone, told silicon.com that the service gives users flexibility to find music on the move and “not just when they’re tied to the personal computer.”

Rob Lewis, founder and CEO of silicon.com until it was sold to CNET Networks in 2002, also said that each track can usually be downloaded within five to 10 seconds – giving users the ability to download around eight albums in 10 minutes “while they’re waiting for the bus.”

Since the downloaded tracks and playlists are stored centrally, even if a customer’s mobile phone is stolen, lost or upgraded, the replacement handset will automatically have the user’s MusicStation tracks and preferences the first time it is switched on.

The Omnifone platform also stores a user's favorite tracks on the phone’s internal or removable memory – which can be accessed when the phone is
in flight mode or not connected to the internet. The user can then have unlimited access to their full catalogue when connected to a 2.5G or 3G network.

Omnifone’s platform went live in June 2007 with 30 mobile operators confirmed as MusicStation partners at that time.

Meanwhile, Apple Incorporated is believed to have signed an exclusive deal to sell the iPhone only to customers of the O2 network, due to be formally announced in the next few weeks.

As the sole provider of the phone which will top the Christmas wish lists of many gadget lovers, O2 is expected to have a big advantage in attracting high-spending, tech-savvy customers during this crucial sales period.





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