India's Reliance, Universal tie up for 3G music services
Thursday 05 August 2010
Universal Music on Wednesday said it would launch music services for third-generation (3G) mobile phones in India with telecoms provider Reliance Communications (RCom).
The deal is the first major content agreement that RCom, India's second largest mobile phone operator, has signed since it acquired 3G mobile spectrum earlier this year for a payment of 85.9 billion rupees (1.85 billion dollars).
Indian subscribers will have access to full-track music downloads, video streaming, live concerts and ring tones on 3G mobile phones, when these services are fully operative in the country.
"This is a re-enforcement that Universal music group is open for business," Rob Wells, Universal's senior vice-president for digital services, told reporters in India's financial capital.
RCom, headed by billionaire Anil Ambani, has a customer base of 110 million across India and expects to launch its 3G mobile services late this year or early in 2011.
"We will be aggressive with our (3G) services. We should be able to launch them either late 2010 or early 2011, assuming spectrum is in place," Reliance Communications director Mahesh Prasad said.
The government has said it expects to grant spectrum to the auction winners by September.
3G allows mobile phone users to surf the Internet, video conference and download music, video and other content at a much faster pace than the current second-generation or 2G service.
Music downloads comprise 35 percent of RCom's value-added service revenues.
Universal's music catalogue includes Indian and western billboard artists, among them Bryan Adams, The Black Eyed Peas, Enrique, Eminem, Lady Gaga and local stars like Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan.
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