After launching a streamed mobile TV service, Vodafone plans to introduce a new streamed music service.

Vodafone has joined with Sony NetServices, a unit of Sony, to launch the Vodafone Radio DJ service, which offers personalised music channels streamed to customers' handsets and computers, Vodafone said Monday in a statement.

Mobile on a mission

Vodafone joins the growing global gaggle of mobile phone operators launching new streamed and downloadable music services.

Last week, Verizon Wireless announced plans to launch an online music store in January that allows customers to download songs directly to their phones and to Microsoft Windows XP PCs.

Vodafone's service offers a personalisation system: users can "train" preprogrammed channels to their own personal tastes by pressing a button to indicate "like" or "dislike" while listening to a song. When pressing "dislike," customers automatically skip to the next song, according to Vodafone.

Users can also create their own personal channels.

"This is an interesting new way for users to explore and hear music that they don't have with traditional methods," said Vodafone spokesman Ben Padovan.

Eureka! No data transfer charge

The service will be available for a fee through the Vodafone Live portal, which requires handsets using packet-based technologies, such as GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) or 3G (third-generation).

The fee comes either as a monthly subscription, to cost between €10 ($12) and €15, or in the form of a daily rate between €1.50 and €2, according to Padovan.

Prices will vary according to market, he said.

Most importantly, Vodafone will levy no extra data fee for sending the music to the phone. Users can also download and pay for songs.

All music will be copy-protected using Microsoft DRM (digital rights management) technology.

"We will be offering hundreds of thousands of music tracks from major labels as well as independent labels," Padovan said.

Vodafone Radio DJ will be launched in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK over the next few months, with other markets in the Vodafone Group to follow this year.