Vodafone last week backed Nokia’s potentially disruptive move into digital content provision, just as rival manufacturers Sony Ericsson and LG Mobile counted themselves out of any face-off with their network partners over mobile content.
Nokia’s deal with Vodafone is the second major endorsement for its ‘Ovi’ content portal, following O2 parent company Telefónica’s decision to integrate its network services with Nokia’s content play last month.
The Vodafone deal will see Nokia Ovi services made available on a range of 3G and HSDPA Nokia handsets ranged by the network, alongside its own content offering. Nokia has agreed to make certain devices exclusive to Vodafone as part of the agreement.
Both the Vodafone MusicStation and the Nokia Music Store will be available on Nokia’s 2008 handset range from Vodafone.
Ovum analyst John Delaney said: “Nokia has big ambitions for Ovi. By associating with Ovi at this stage Vodafone is taking an early opportunity to benefit collaterally from the substantial investments that Nokia is likely to make in developing and marketing the Ovi brand and line of services.”
Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson and LG Mobile both stated they would not follow Nokia’s route for fear of jeapordising their network relationships.
Sony Ericsson last week announced developments to its mobile content portal PlayNow, which come into effect in Q2 next year. Users will be able to move from Sony Ericsson’s music recognition service TrackID to the PlayNow download portal sin a single click. But PlayNow will not be recast as a rival to Nokia’s Ovi platform, said Sony Ericsson UK head of marketing David Hilton.
“We don’t want to upset the operators in any way, because they are our biggest customers in the market. We position ourselves as very operator friendly and will not force PlayNow onto the operator market in a way that others have done with their music services,” said Hilton.
LG Mobile UK sales and marketing director John Barton said LG Mobile had no interest in following Nokia’s lead either.
Barton said: “There are certain vendors in competition with the networks. We want to do our bit, and let the networks do theirs.”