Unlimited Music by Xmas from Vodafone

The British wireless carrier plans to launch an unlimited mobile music download service for a fixed rate of about $4 per week

Vodafone UK will launch an unlimited mobile music download service by Christmas of this year.

Through an agreement with UK-based mobile music company Omnifone, users will be able to share playlists and tracks with other people at a fixed rate of £1.99 per week.

Using Omnifone's MusicStation platform, users can choose from a catalogue of more than one million songs from major music labels -- such as EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group and the Warner Music Group -- and independent labels.

The service will be accessible on a new range of Vodafone handsets -- to launch in the run-up to Christmas -- as well as existing 2.5G and 3G mobiles.

Omnifone CEO Rob Lewis told silicon.com the service gives users flexibility to find music on the move and "not just when they're tied to the PC".

Lewis -- founder and CEO of silicon.com until its sale to CNET Networks in 2002 -- added each track can usually be downloaded within five to 10 seconds -- giving users the ability to download around eight albums in 10 minutes while they're waiting for the bus.

Downloaded tracks and playlists are stored centrally so if a customer's mobile is stolen, lost or upgraded, the replacement handset will automatically have the user's MusicStation tracks and preferences the first time it is switched on.

The Omnifone platform also stores a user's favourite tracks on the phone's internal or removable memory -- which can be accessed when the phone is in flight mode or not connected to the internet.

The user can then have unlimited access to their full catalogue when connected to a 2.5G or 3G network.

Omnifone's platform went live in June 2007 with 30 mobile operators confirmed as MusicStation partners at that time.

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