Orange customers will soon be able to download full-length music to mobile phones via the company's Music Player service.
The service will be provided by Chaoticom, a provider of mobile music-download solutions, and will be exclusive to Orange for 12 months. It launches on July 1, and allows users to download full-length tracks from a constantly updated list of the latest tunes and listen to them without the need for any extra devices, says the company.
Chaoticom CEO Dr Bathsheba Malsheen said: "For the first time UK mobile customers will be able to download the actual tracks they hear on the radio and in clubs directly to their mobile phones."
Orange has confirmed deals with V2 and Warner Music, and claims to be in the process of finalising deals with major record labels and some independents.
V2 new media and business development manager Beth Appleton said: "The Mobile Music Market is fast becoming a critical part of our business and we are very pleased to provide alternative music products and services for music fans. The continued growth and development of the mobile arena in the UK is very exciting and we look forward to seeing the results of this innovative partnership."
The service will be compatible with the following phones: Motorola MPX200, Nokia 6600, Nokia 7610, Nokia N-Gage, Orange SPV, Orange SPV E100, Orange SPV E200, Sony Ericsson P900 and Sony Ericsson P800.
Orange will also enable customers to remix tracks on their phones using Fireplayer, provided by Bounce Technology, also on an exclusive basis.
A number of industry watchers are suggesting that the mobile-phone market could be a threat to the iPod's dominance of the MP3 market. "It won’t be long before the storage capabilities of cell phones make it practical to hold a personal jukebox worth of songs on a phone," said Eric Hellweg in a report in Technology Review.