Sweden sees launch of ‘iPhone beater’

British telecoms company Omnifone on Thursday launched MusicStation, a new music download service for mobile phone users in Sweden, beating Apple's iPhone to the global marketplace by two weeks.

The MusicStation service, which works on about 80 percent of new mobile phones, will be rolled out across Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa in the coming weeks, Omnifone said in a statement.

From Thursday, Swedish mobile customers of Norwegian group Telenor can now enjoy unlimited downloads for a weekly fee of 25 Swedish kronor.

“We have actually beaten iPhone to the market by two weeks on a global level,” an Omnifone spokesman told AFP.

The world’s four biggest music labels – Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, EMI Music and Warner Music International – have signed international licensing deals for the Omnifone offering.

Apple’s iPhone, which offers music storage and Internet access, will be launched in the United States on June 29, before making its likely debut in Europe by the end of this year and in Asia in 2008.

“MusicStation’s launch today heralds the beginning of the next generation of mobile music,” added Omnifone chief executive Rob Lewis in the statement.

“Hundreds of millions of mobile phone subscribers worldwide will soon gain… the ability to download and play unlimited amounts of music, wherever they are.”

Omnifone has already entered into partnerships with 30 mobile operators mainly in Europe and Asia Pacific.