'Vodafone Radio DJ' to roll out in 20 markets.

Mobile phone giant Vodafone is entering the international wireless streamed-radio sector with the introduction of a new service accessible via handsets and home computers.

Vodafone Radio DJ is an interactive subscription-based operation offering personalized streamed music to subscribers of Vodafone's existing full-track downloads service. It is based on a customized version of the StreamMan platform hosted by Sony NetServices, a Sony Corp. subsidiary.

Trought the new service, customers can stream "hundreds of thousands" of songs via 3G (third generation) handsets and Vodafone Web sites. Moreover, they can opt to download each song to mobile devices and PCs, and transfer them to blank CD-Rs and portable players.

Depending on the market, monthly subscription costs €10-€15 ($12.14-$18.22), with no extra charges for airtime usage. A daily rate of €1.50-€2 ($1.80-$2.42) is available. Downloads will cost €2 on average, whether to mobile, PC or both.

Subscribers can access the streamed songs in three ways: as pre-defined genre-based radio channels or stations; as personal channels based on the customers' individual tastes or preferences; and as collections, which are themed channels created by locally-appointed music experts.

"Vodafone Radio DJ is fully integrated into our download service. We're direct marketing this to our high music-using customers and, for the same downloadable price, you can choose to download to your mobile phone or PC or both," explains Ed Kershaw, Vodafone Group's London-based head of music.

A major portion of Vodafone's licensed catalog of 600,000-plus full tracks will be offered. More tracks will be added to the streamed service as it develops.

Vodafone Radio DJ is expected to go live in six European markets - Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal -- in the first few months of 2006.

By the end of the year, the service is expected to roll out to more than 20 countries. The United States is not earmarked for a launch.