Telenor & Vodacom To Launch All-You-Can-Eat Mobile Music Service; Omnifone Signs UMG

Norway’s Telenor ASA and South Africa’s Vodacom will launch among the first fat-rate mobile music all-you-can-eat download services….the two have signed up with British company Omnifone, which is launching its new MusicStation white-label service that will let phone service users download songs for a weekly cost starting at 1.99 pounds, or about $3.88, per week, reports AP.
Omnifone said it signed partnerships with 23 mobile network operators with a customer base of 690 million subscribers in 40 countries, though I am not sure if that means all these will launch the service…the company did says another four networks will launch in western Europe and in Asia and the Pacific between April and June.
Omnifone CEO Rob Lewis said the aim is to get the service to customers before the planned European introduction of the iPhone in November. This is an OTA service over the phone network, unlike iPhone (from Cingular first in U.S.) that will be a sync service from PC. The tracks will include DRM and be delivered in enhanced advanced audio coding format, or eAAC+. Songs will come from both major and independent labels, including Universal Music Group, as well as local artists in most areas, the story says.
The comparisons with iPhone and the “iPhone-killer” tags in the stories popping up are just that: ridiculous.
Reuters: Consumers can keep the tracks for as long as they keep their subscription. Tracks will reappear if consumers renew their subscriptions, can be recovered if a phone gets lost or broken and will be transferred when a consumer upgrades to a new handset. Handsets with limited storage capacity will make room for new downloads by deleting least played songs.
More details in release.