The mobile download market has taken a leap forward in Australia. From today (Dec. 21), users of telecommunication company Optus's 3G (third generation) service can download music tracks and videos to

The mobile download market has taken a leap forward in Australia. From today (Dec. 21), users of telecommunication company Optus's 3G (third generation) service can download music tracks and videos to their mobile handsets. The move is a first for the Australian market.

The service uses Dual Delivery technology, which was developed for Optus by Singapore-based digital music service provider Soundbuzz.

The facility offers the 300,000 tracks aggregated by Soundbuzz from Australian major and independent labels. The charge for a simultaneous download to both mobile and PC is A$4 ($2.95) per track. Single downloads to either mobile or PC are $3 ($2.2) and $2 ($1.47) respectively.

The Australian mobile music market this year is valued at roughly $80 million ($58.8 million) and is expected to grow 53% to $122 million ($89.6 million) by 2007, according to analysts at accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers and media consultancy Wilkofsky Gruen.

In other news, New Zealand telecommunications company Telecom has launched the country's second mobile download service. Coca-Cola's online service launched in August with a direct-to-mobile download function.

The Telecom Music Store offers 300,000 songs and 10,000 artists licensed from such record companies as Universal Music Group, EMI and Warner Music. Downloads are priced a NZ$3.50 ($2.38) each track.

The New Zealand service is initially compatible only with the Sanyo 9000 mobile handset whose 1GB Mini-SD memory card holds 900 songs. The store is powered by Massachusetts-based Groove Mobile's mobile technology.

Apple Computer's iTunes is among a raft of music download services which are tipped to go live in New Zealand in the coming weeks.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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