Sony Ericsson has bagged a deal with Omnifone to power its unlimited music download service PlayNow plus.
The service will be available free on selected new Walkman handsets which will be preloaded with 1,000 tracks. Other handsets are compatible with the service through a subscription for £2 a week.
Tracks take up to eight seconds to download through the 3G/HSDPA connectivity. Once the customer cancels the subscription they can save up to 300 tracks in MP3 format through Sony Ericsson’s ‘Keep Your Favourites’ and are saved in a free format that can be transferred to a computer.
The service will be rolled out on Swedish network Telenor on the W902 handset in the fourth quarter of the year. The UK is set to receive the service in the first quarter of 2009 with a range of handsets preloaded with the application.
Omnifone chief executive Rob Lewis said: “Until now, mobile music has failed to achieve the revenue expected. This is because of the quality of users’ experience.
“The service will radically change the experience consumers will have.”
Lewis said 50 per cent of all music downloads are shown to be via Walkman handsets. “Our belief is Walkman is the hero device for music lovers. Consumers clearly want this kind of service and Sony Ericsson effectively shows they can deliver on their devices,” said Lewis.
He added: “Next year is the 30th anniversary of the Walkman so the service ties in with this.”
Sony Ericsson director and head of global content acquisition and partner management Martin Blomkvist added: “Omnifone was the clear partner of choice for PlayNow plus. Omnifone has enabled us to deliver the most innovative and attractive solution for our operator partners and end-users”.
Lewis said there has been “keen desire” from mobile networks to stock the handsets but UK networks are yet to be confirmed.