Nokia's unlimited music service Comes With Music is set to launch in India in the first half of 2010.

The move coincides with developments regarding India's upgrade this year to a higher-speed 3G network. Successful bidders in the country's bandwidth auction will be able to offer 3G services from Sept. 1, 2010.

Mobile network Bharti Airtel - believed to be one bidder - today (March 19) announced it has agreed terms with Apple to sell the iPhone 3GS later this year (the 3G model is currently available but has to be used via the country's 2G network).

The all-you-can-eat Nokia service will be available for high-end Nokia handsets and offer local and international repertoire from all the majors and main local companies, according to Nokia representatives in India.

The service has had a mixed reaction in the past 18 months: in the U.K., its numbers were said to be disappointing and there was a lack of operator support from networks who had their own music services, while an unclear launch marketing campaign failed to connect with consumers. Since then, Nokia has revamped its marketing - the U.K. Web site has easy-to-follow short films of different types of music fan showing how they sign up to the unlimited service - and added Orange as an operator for Comes With Music contracts.

Other territories have been more successful at launch, particularly Singapore according to label executives. So Comes With Music may be more suited to markets where mobile is the dominant digital music platform.

India's digital music sales are dominated by mobile - it is 98% of the Indian digital music market according to the most recent IFPI data for 2008.

In Singapore, mobile accounts for 67% of digital music sales, and mobile may well feature in the 10% of the digital music market classed as 'subscriptions.' That would not include Comes With Music, which launched in Singapore in February 2009, but Nokia's service could up the proportion of subscriptions within the digital market in the next set of IFPI figures for 2009, expected in the coming weeks.

Australia, which has also been identified as one of the more healthy markets for Comes With Music, has a 29% digital music market share for mobile, against 69% for online and 2% for 'other.'

In the U.K., the digital music market is dominated by online sales (78%), with mobile responsible for 13% and subscriptions for 7% (with 2% as 'other').

Comes With Music, now available in various territories after launching in the U.K. in October 2008, typically offers consumers a pre-licensed music handset that enables them to download unlimited music to the phone or PC for a period of 12-18 months.

After that period, consumers either buy a new Comes With Music handset and transfer the music in the case of pay-as-you-go tariffs, or renew their provider contract, which allows them to continue to access their DRM-enabled music.

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