Reuters today reports that a new music service allowing mobile phone users to download unlimited numbers of tracks to their phones for a small weekly payment is being launched.
UK company Omnifone has apparently agreed with content deals with some of the biggest music names in the business, and 30 mobile phone operators.
The service, called MusicStation will be available for all 2.5G and 3G phones; currently accounting for 80 percent of all handsets sold in Western Europe, and offers unlimited track downloads for 2.99 Euros per week [1.99 GBP in the UK].
MusicStation is launching first in Sweden with Scandinavian operator Telenor, and will be rolled out across Europe, Asia and Africa in the coming weeks.
Initially, consumers will be limited to listening to the tracks they purchase on their phones, but apparently a PC version will be released soon.
It seems that the mobile industry is rattled by the prospect of Apple - no doubt buoyed by the rampant success of the iPod - wading into the market, and is gearing up to head off the computer giant at the pass... or at least join the stampede.
Mobile companies stand to lose out on lucrative bandwidth charges for enhanced services such as 3G, as Apple plans to bypass carriers and offer iPhone content direct from iTunes
Time is pressing, as Apple is due to launch its iPhone in the US on June 29, and although launch dates haven't been given yet for Europe and Japan, it can't be very far away.
Update...As I was writing this, a rich-media message from Vodafone UK arrived on my handset, promoting their 'Full Track Pack', and offering me "7 brand new tunes a month for 71p each"
... the race is on! ;-]
We take a look at two new boxes from 1010Music