Omnifone unveils first rival to the iPhone and iTunes

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) Omnifone, a British mobile music company, will unveil a new music service aimed at cell phone users who crave music while on the go, in the first of what is expected to be many challenges against Apple's upcoming iPhone and its ubiquitous iTunes music service.

The London-based company, founded in 2003, said its new MusicStation will be an 'all you can eat' service that will let users, in Europe first, but with plans to expand elsewhere, download new songs from dozens of major music labels for a weekly cost of 1.99 pounds, ($3.88) per week.

'The launch of MusicStation heralds the next generation mobile music experience for the hundreds of millions of mobile phone subscribers worldwide who want a simple, easy-to-use digital music experience,' Omnifone CEO Rob Lewis said.

'MusicStation will give users of any music-capable mobile phone the ability to legally access, download and enjoy an unlimited amount of music, from a global music catalog supported by the music industry, all for a small weekly fee, wherever they are.'

Set to debut in Europe and Asia this year, Omnifone said it signed partnerships with 23 mobile network operators with a customer base of 690 million subscribers in 40 countries.

Another four networks will launch in western Europe and in Asia and the Pacific between April and June, Omnifone said. The company said its service would be available in Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

© 2007 The Associated Press

© 2007 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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