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First 'Single Price' Mobile Music Download Services
Posted: 27-Mar-2006 [Source: mBlox]

[Off-portal music download service in UK offers one price and no additional operator data charges. ]

London -- mBlox, the world's largest mobile transaction network, and New-Visions, a mobile specialist focused on providing marketing solutions to the entertainment industry, are launching the first off-portal music track download services where consumers pay 'one price' to download music with no additional operator data charges. The services, which are launching later this week, are made possible through mBlox's wholesale data service and are being provided by music labels Ministry of Sound (MoS) and V2. The services will feature new releases and classic tracks from artists including Stereophonics (Dakota), The Rakes (All Too Human), Lethal Bizzle (Mind Your Head), Studio B (I See Girls), Boogie Pimps (Somebody to Love) and DJ Sammy (Heaven).

The operators' data charges for downloading content are often cited as the reason for the slow uptake of rich media services on mobile. Currently consumers are not only paying for the value of the content via premium billing but also for the cost of the data traffic to deliver the content. Consequently, songs that are approximately 1MB in size can cost consumers the GBP 1.50 charge for the song plus an additional GBP 8 in data charges (data charges may vary). These extra charges make the cost of downloading to mobile unacceptably high and can put consumers off downloading music or other media content. In solving this, mBlox's new off-portal charging model provides another avenue for music labels and artists to go directly to the consumer rather than through an operator's WAP portal or a mobile retail portal, and will provide consumers with extra choice to download the tracks they want to hear.

To expose mobile subscribers to music and other rich media content, mBlox worked closely with Vodafone to develop an innovative wholesale data model which mBlox can now offer to content providers like New-Visions. These new data tariffs are low enough to be bundled with the cost of the song and provides the consumer with a single cost for both the content and the download. This means consumers on Vodafone buying from MoS or V2's WAP site, created by New-Visions, will not incur any data charges on their mobile phone bill.

What has also been key to the whole project is New-Visions' technical partners Cube:80. Cube:80 provide an OMA compliant Separate Delivery Digital Rights Management (DRM) solution tightly integrated with their Direct-To-Consumer WAP hosting, content delivery and billing platform. This will be the first time this sort of technology has been trialled outside the network portals, allowing consumers to send on files that are rights protected to their friends.

Wholesale data is available to Vodafone customers only. Orange expects to offer this service shortly as it considers wholesale data as the core to the long-term development of the mobile media market. The other UK operators are expected to make the facility available within a few months.

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