With the relaunch of its download store, Telecom New Zealand claims to have the country's largest mobile music library.

Telecom, the country's largest telco, on June 24 unveiled its new-look music store as part of the rollout of its just-launched next generation XT mobile network.

The Telecom Music Store offers customers access to over 3.2 million tracks, compared with the 2.1 million-plus library of its main competitor Vodafone. Telecom charges $1.99 New Zealand ($1.27) per track and customers can preview a song for up to 30 seconds for free before they choose to purchase it; users do not incur data charges for music downloads.

Paul Hamburger, Telecom's director of mobile, says the relaunch of the store - which first appeared on the market in December 2005 - makes mobile music more accessible than ever.

As well as offering choice and affordability, he adds that the Telecom Music Store has a strong local flavor with Kiwi artists featuring on the home page. "This is a terrific way to gain exposure for local talent," Hamburger says.

Other features of the Telecom Music Store includes a "What's Fresh" zone, which offers record labels' top picks, a top 20 list of th biggest sellers, high-spec graphics and talent bios and photos.

However, unlike Vodafone, Telecom's music downloads are DRM-protected and cannot be played on iPods. Although there is no official data on online marketshare, industry commentators say that iTunes remains the dominant player in the New Zealand download music market, followed by Vodafone.