A week after its launch, U.K. retailer the Carphone Warehouse says the Comes With Music 'unlimited music' package from Nokia is performing well. But, like Nokia, the company declined to give any figures in relation to the exclusive partnership with the mobile manufacturer.

There are a few limitations to the service, as previously reported (Billboard.biz, Oct. 2), but users will essentially be able to keep all the tracks they download on the assigned PC and mobile after the subscription period is up.

What has emerged is that the launch handset for the service, the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic, is not equipped for over-the-air downloads. The 5310 is available on pay-as-you-go for an initial £129.95 ($209.38) for a year's subscription to Comes With Music, or on an 18-month contract with Orange for £25 ($40.28) a month.

The alternative Nokia N95 8GB does have 3G and wi-fi, but is more expensive – on monthly contract with Orange for £40 ($64.42). However, the 3 network confirmed today (Oct. 24) that it will support the Nokia 95 on an 18-month contract from Nov. 3 for £35 a month ($54.60), providing 1GB of internet access, which will remove the problem of data charges which can still apply to over-the-air downloads even though the music is all 'free.'

"As the market leader in mobile internet and content 3 wants to remove the barriers between people and the internet services they want on a mobile. Nokia shares this commitment," said 3 U.K. director of product management Fergal Walker in a statement.

While the Comes With Music service on the 5310 has attractive aspects – price and the phone's speaker quality - the interface feels clunky compared to iTunes. The design, with plenty of white space, also feels incomplete, and recommendations need work.

The search function is perhaps the most frustrating feature: it just never makes you feel confident it will find the music you want. There were no Oasis albums on the store, but it seems that is simply because Nokia has not yet managed to add the band's repertoire to its service. Carphone Warehouse says there are two million tracks at present and all the majors have signed up as well as The Orchard and some independents.

As over-the-air is not possible, users simply synch the music in the My Downloads part of the interface with the handset via USB, toggling between the Nokia Music Store to make other selections.

Downloads are quick enough - it took around 20 seconds to download Razorlight's new track "Wire To Wire" (Vertigo/Universal) - and they are even quicker to side-load into the phone itself. The large speaker on the back, built into the plastic casing, is decent enough quality for a mobile. But the phone itself doesn't feel made to last - the USB cover will likely be the first part to break.

At least the sign-up process, with a 16-digit PIN code supplied with the phone and a password log-in, is relatively simply. And the focus on album and single sleeves on the Nokia Music Store means it has some of the appeal of iTunes. Although, it is of course only available on PC.

Comes With Music does live up to some of its promises and it is ultimately reasonably simple to use. But this first-generation interface and handset can certainly be improved upon.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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