Streaming Radio on Phones… why?


So I would love to revisit this news in six months, and then point out that some ideas like streaming radio streams on to cell phones is just plain dumb idea. Even if the wireless networks had bandwidth to waste – which they don’t – the concept of radio on the phone is pretty dumb. Just like the idea of streaming TV to the phone inspired folks like TI and Qualcomm to think about bringing TV to the phones using non-cellular networks, I see the same thing in cell phones as well. FM radio receivers can be and are being embedded in cellphones and that’s just an add-on. I wonder how successful the service MSpot Radio, first available to Sprint wireless customers, who have one of these two phones – Sanyo MM-5600 and MM-7400. Initial offer includes 13 channels of either live or on-demand music, news and talk. Those who happen to be dumb enough to believe that streaming is the answer – well here is a nice little piece for your education. Oh and lets chat in six months, and see how many folks have really signed up for this service.


Ed Morando

I listen to streaming radio on my T-Mobil smartphone all the time. I have an unlimited internet package in my plan. I run three miles every day and listen to mutiple genres located at the streaming internet radio. I don’t have to pay for any music downloads and I can save up to five playlists.


Hmmm, can you say XM Cell phone? Seems to work…add in WiFi and the cost per minute delivered has to be MUCH cheaper than satellite, no?


So, Vodafone offers so called “UMTS – Spezial Pakete”, which range from 20 EUR – 95 EUR, depending on the minutes you want to have included for telephony. With such a “UMTS-Special-Package” you are allowed to watch 2 hours mobile TV per month. If you watch more than these 2 hours you will be charged 3 EUR for every further hour. This is quite a lot money I think, and yes: at these prices they will get problems bringing it to the masses. But hey, last weekend, when the pope died, that had user-high-records on the mobile-TV-news channels: about 20.000 on the whole weekend. So, I think there´s a market.

Om Malik

Sure it is marvelous – as long as you are willing to pay between $20 to $30 a month extra for those services. at those price points its not easy to get mass adoption. I would love to know how many dollars is Vodafone charging for TV on its german network!


Vodafone germany just launched 13 new mobile TV channels on it´s Vodafone Live! portal, and it´s a real success, though it´s quite expensive. The quality is marveless, and having live soccer games on the weekends is a plaesure. I think if streaming (and with streaming 3G) will be a success or not will be a question of the price: will there be flatrates in Europe? Then it might get to a tipping point. Streaming radio on a mobile phone…why not?!

Om Malik

I agree – i think the market is in niches and that’s where people should be focusing and dumb ideas like mspot won’t work – just my two cents

Carlo Longino

I think there are some real possibilities for radio streamed to mobiles, but it certainly isn’t a platform that will succeed just because it’s a novelty.

Pushing out Clear Channel-esque corporate crap-rock stations won’t work. But for Web-only stations, like the great, it will work. Live sports coverage also has a lot of potential, be it MLB on MobiTV, or streaming coverage of test cricket to Indian ex-pats, or English football.

But what’s important to remember is that the mobile platform offers radio much more than just an audio stream; there’s a lot of functionality and interactivity that can be added in. Services that do so will be the ones that make money.

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