Virgin Radio has teamed with Sydus to launch (what they claim is) the first radio station to be broadcast via 3G (or 2.5G) networks. The service is available to anyone in the world with an appropriate handset and a telco that allows 3G connection to outside sites, and will be made available free of charge. Which makes sense – radio stations already broadcast free of charge (for the most part) and have a revenue plan set up around that. Of course, you will still play for bandwidth so the service is not worth using unless you have an unlimited plan – 7.2MB of data is sent every hour. The Register lists the US, India, Thailand, Singapore, China, Italy and Australia as those countries with operators offering unlimited plans. Of course, the plans normally come with “fair use” restrictions, and the telcos might not agree that listening to Virgin Radio is fair use. Fixed broadband was unlimited until people started swapping movies…
The other thing that springs to mind is whether Virgin plans to make better use of its mobile music platform. For example, the technology exists for people listening to Virgin Radio on their mobile who hear a song they like to click a link which will take them to a site where they can download the MP3, ringtone, wallpaper of the band or whatever else Virgin sticks up there. Not only is this good news for the customers – who might be listening to the station from the other side of the world and who have never heard of the band being played – but good news for Virgin Radio. I was going to suggest ways to cross-promote with the other Virgin brands, but noticed that Virgin Radio is no longer part of the Virgin Group.