Nokia's unlimited music service on sale Oct 16 in Britain
Nokia will start offering unlimited music through mobile phones in Britain on October 16, the Finnish company said Thursday, as it seeks to muscle in on a market dominated by Apple's iPod.
The new service, named "comes with music", allows people owning a special device to download unlimited music for free through their mobile telephone or computer for up to 18 months -- after which they can also keep the music.
"It's about changing the way we consume music," said Tero Ojanpero, executive vice president and head of entertainment and communities business at Nokia, the world's leading mobile phone maker.
Britain will be first to offer the service through the Carphone Warehouse dealer. It will be initially available on 5310 Xpress Music phones, which cost 129.95 pounds (165 euros, 229 dollars), but other phones will then be added.
The service will then be rolled out to ten other countries including France, Sweden, Spain and Singapore where the online Nokia Music Store is available.
The store in Nokia's answer to the iTunes store from Apple, and it has signed deals with Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI, Warner and a host of independent labels to give customers a wide range of music to choose from.
Sony-Ericsson said Wednesday that it would also be launching an unlimited music download service by the end of the year, but it would be part of a mobile phone package, PlayNowTM, and customers could only keep up to 300 songs.
In another challenge to Apple, Nokia said it would launch its first touch-screen phone in Taiwan, Spain, Russia, Indonesia, India, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates later this year, and France and Britain in 2009.
Nokia performs well in emerging markets such as China, India and Latin America, but has been struggling in the United States, where Apple's iPod, iPhone and related iTunes store have made it the world leader in digital music.