A new music service that allows consumers to download an unlimited number of tracks to their mobile phones for a small weekly fee from wherever they are will launch in Europe on Thursday.
British firm Omnifone said it had signed content deals with the four biggest music groups in the industry and had agreements with 30 mobile operators in a bid to steal the thunder of the much-hyped iPhone made by iPod maker Apple .
The service called MusicStation will be suitable for 75 percent of mobile handsets already available in the market and will launch first in Sweden on Thursday with Scandinavian operator Telenor .
It will then roll out across Europe, the Asia-Pacific and Africa in the coming days and weeks. Omnifone is targeting 100 million phones in a year and can offer over 1 million songs.
Omnifone has also signed content deals three other major music groups: Sony/BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI Group
Omnifone said the service would be available on all 2.5G and 3G music compatible mobiles, which currently accounts for approximately 80 percent of the handsets sold in Western Europe.
It will offer unlimited track downloads at 2.99 euros per week, which includes data traffic charges.
Consumers will initially be limited to listening to the tracks through their phones as Omnifone bans users from transferring music to computers, MP3 players or other digital gadgets, but the firm says it will launch a parallel PC version shortly.
Users can keep the tracks for as long as they keep their subscription which is added to their phone bills. Tracks will reappear if consumers renew their subscriptions, replace or upgrade a phone.