Optical/IP Networks

MusicStation's New Groove

11:12 AM -- Omnifone Ltd. -- the company behind the MusicStation over-the-air unlimited music download service -- is singing a new tune at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company announced that it will start to work directly with handset manufacturers to load its music download serviced software onto devices. (See Omnifone Intros Music Phones.)

It's a new business model for Omnifone, which has partnered with mobile operators, such as Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Hutchison 3G HK Ltd. , and Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) to offer its music service. (See MEM Sizzles on the Riviera, Vodafone Grooves to MusicStation, MusicStation Goes to Asia, and Vodafone Opens the Ovi.)

Omnifone is aiming to beat Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s new Comes With Music service to market, which is due to be commercially available in the second half of this year. (See Nokia Unveils Comes With Music and Nokia Snaps Up Avvenu.)

LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) is the first handset maker that will offer MusicStation Max handsets. LG will introduce a range of pre-licensed 3G and HSDPA music download handsets in the first half of this year.

Omnifone also announced a partnership with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) to integrate the software giant's PlayReady content access technology into MusicStation. (See Microsoft, Omnifone Team Up.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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