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Sprint set to unveil 'mobile music service'

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US mobile phone carrier Sprint is expected to announce today it will offer over-the-air music downloads when it launches its high-speed EV-DO 3G wireless network.

Sprint's EV-DO upgrade to its CDMA network has been signalled for some time - the carrier began to implement the technology in July this year. EV-DO is part of the CDMA2000 3G specification.

However, details of EV-DO evaluation handsets provided by Sprint ahead of today's announcement reveal the presence of an on-screen menu icon for the Sprint Music Store, the Associated Press news agency reports. The service offers downloads for $2.50 a song, which can also be transferred to a computer.

Last year, AT&T Wireless launched an online music store, mMode, but the platform was intended to allow users to buy songs that would later be downloaded direct to a PC. The carrier pitched the service as a way of bringing on-the-move impulse purchasing to the digital download market.

The Cingular network began offering Motorola's iTunes-equipped Rokr handset in September this year, though that handset can only play songs that have already been downloaded onto a computer from the Apple music store.

Nokia has partnered with US digital music distributor Loudeye to offer music services to carriers, and, more recently, Ericsson has done a similar deal with Napster to bring branded download stores first to European and later US mobile phone networks. ®

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