2/14/2008 10:46:00 AM
UK’s Omnifone looks to undercut Finnish giant
UK mobile music company Omnifone is going up against Nokia with a new unlimited music download device.
Omnifone’s MusicStation Max, which is produced by LG, offers 12-18 months of unlimited downloads from over one and a half million music tracks.
The UK company is looking to undercut Nokia by bringing the device to the market six months before the Finnish manufacturer’s proposition, Comes With Music.
Nokia revealed its plans to bring out its own music handset with free music downloads in November 2007. The device is due to launch during the second half of this year.
However, there are differences between the two propositions: Nokia’s Comes With Music devices use Wi-Fi to download songs, whereas tracks on the Omnifone handsets are downloaded over the mobile networks.
Because the Omnifone service uses networks, the company needs to sign up operator partners. Omnifone CEO Rob Lewis (pictured) claimed that all but one of the major UK networks are keen to offer the device.
It is understood that Omnifone’s device will be available on Vodafone in the operator’s own stores and at Phones 4u, due to existing ties with the two companies.
Operators will offer the LG handset as a part of a normal subscription package, with all music free of charge until the end of the contract.
Lewis said: ‘We have been getting calls from other phone companies which are very concerned about the Nokia move.
‘We have proved ourselves in our partnership with Vodafone which has been phenomenally successful, so this was the logical next step.’
Another difference between the two services is that Nokia has only managed to sign up Universal Music out of the major record labels, while Omnifone has all four major labels on-board.
Rob Wells, senior vice president of digital at Universal Music Group, said: ‘MusicStation Max represents the next generation in music mobiles, where unlimited music comes out of the box with the handset.’