UBC Media Group is hoping to bring its music downloading service to the mobile phone market before the end of 2006. They have reached agreements in principle with BT Movio, Carphone Warehouse and Chrysalis Radio that will allow it, subject to a successful trial, to launch the new service before the end of the year.
At the time of its interim results in December 2005, UBC Media Group announced that it had developed software and licensing agreements that would allow it to operate a system using digital radio data spectrum to download music files into suitably equipped mobile phones.
UBC owns data spectrum on the five major regional DAB multiplexes in the UK and has now reached a conditional agreement
in principle with Carphone Warehouse, subject to certain factors being satisfied, for the use of its capacity on the London II DAB multiplex.
UBC has now made a strategic decision to operate data transmission within this spectrum using the same DAB-IP world standard as implemented by BT Movio.
In February 2006, BT Movio announced the launch of a new handset, the world’s first DAB-IP enabled Smartphone, at the 3GSM World Congress. The handset will be available later this year, giving access to a package of digital TV channels
and more than 400 national and local DAB digital radio stations.
BT Movio has agreed to collaborate with UBC on the development of this service for the trial. UBC has contracted with TTP, who have designed the software on the BT Movio handset, to write new software allowing the handsets to operate its
music download system. This development will take place in two phases. The first will implement the software on a restricted number of test devices in
order to allow over-the-air trials in June this year. Following the successful completion of these trials and the further agreement of all parties, the
software can be made commercially available for use on compatible devices. UBC expects this to take place in December.
Chrysalis Radio’s ‘Heart’ stations, which broadcast on all these regional multiplexes, will be used as the DAB radio service for the trial.
UBC Media Group’s CEO Simon Cole said:
‘We have for a long time said that interactive subscription services were the future of digital radio. Today’s news brings that vision very much closer to reality. The commercial implications for future radio revenues are huge. Most people choose the music they purchase whilst listening to radio – this new service will allow them to make that purchase immediately.’
Phil Riley, Chief Executive of Chrysalis Radio said:
‘The future of radio is digital and the ability to download music from radio stations is a an important part of that future. This is a very exciting development.’