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O2 & Napster Partner For Mobile Music Service

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It's not a new market, but it is one that remains relatively untapped so O2 has stepped up its relationship with Napster to bring its music catalogue to mobiles across the UK.

Building on a relationship the two companies already enjoy in Ireland, the deal will see Napster's 5m+ song catalogue be made available to all O2 customers through the 'O2 Active' mobile portal. Customers will pay 99p per track or £4 for a batch of five. Once a purchase is made a copy will be automatically sent to the email address of the customer's choosing so it can be synched on both PC and handset.

More than 30 phone models will be able to access the service (though O2 hasn't specified them - I wonder if the iPhone is included...?) and there aren't any more details either on what bitrate the tracks will be or what, if any, DRM will be employed.

Still, this didn't stop the bigwigs rolling out:

"This is another great example of our strategy of creating deep level partnerships with the best companies in the world to deliver compelling services to our customers," said Sally Cowdry, O2 UK Marketing Director. "Working with the right partners at O2 UK is crucial to our success and we have joined forces with a leader in this space to bring our customers a high quality, great value music service with the widest choice of songs available on mobile."

"We're extremely excited to be working with O2 UK on the launch of Napster Mobile," said Brad Duea, president of Napster. "We look forward to delivering a superior mobile music experience to O2 UK's customers, along with the largest mobile music catalogue available. It's the perfect extension of Napster's online service in the UK."

In O2's favour, it does offer SIM Only mobile tariffs with unlimited data from just £25pm, but until we get more of the nitty gritty it's hard to see how this service betters what is already out there…

In related news, as anticipated, the iPhone launches today in Ireland though in a horribly neutred version without Visual Voicemail, free WiFi or flat rate data packages. Combined with the €399 and €499 asking prices for the 8GB and 16GB models respectively and it's enough to make anyone hit the Guiness...

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