Universal Music France has teamed with local operator Bouygues Télécom to launch Universal Mobile, a mobile telephone subscription service which offers personalized ring tones and digitalize

Universal Music France has teamed with local operator Bouygues Télécom to launch Universal Mobile, a mobile telephone subscription service which offers personalized ring tones and digitalized music.

The Paris-based major launched a similar service in 2001 -– Universal Mobile Music -- with mobile operator SFR, a division of Vivendi Universal. SFR ended that partnership in December 2003 citing strategic reasons.

Through the new partnership, Bouygues will collect mobile revenues from customers and will pay Universal Music a license fee for using its brand and marketing the service. The companies declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Monthly subscription to the service, which is targeted at youths under the age of 25, is charged at three rates: €16.90 ($20.42); €24.90 ($30.09); and €34.90 ($42.17).

Telephone access, short messaging service (sms), and links to chat forums are bundled into the packages. Subscribers will also qualify for discounts on Universal Music product through its Club Universal Mobile online service.

Universal Mobile’s "Music Scoop” feature allows subscribers unlimited access to extracts of Universal Music titles. In addition, its users can purchase ringtones through a dedicated web site.

Universal Music France chairman/CEO Pascal Nègre declares the service as "the beginning of truly mobile music” in France. “Clearly, as soon as networks and handsets allow it, mobile downloads will be the next big step. Tomorrow, your mobile will be a music player,” Nègre adds.

Universal Mobile SIM cards are available only in France through specialist stores, supermarkets and kiosks.