ROK Entertainment Group, the U.K.-based mobile-technology developer, has launched an international digital-entertainment service which aims to challenge the dominance of Apple's iTunes Music Store and iPod players.

The new ROK Media Store is being unveiled in three phases.

First, customers can download a free jukebox software via the ROK Media Store Web site and upload their CD music collection on to the PC's hard drive. Users can then sideload the same collection on to memory cards to play on mobile phones.

ROK says copyright is protected via its proprietary encryption and compression technologies.

Secondly, the Web site will sell online music, which customers can use to build up their PC-and-mobile-based music collection.

Currently, ROK's catalog comprises tracks from independent labels. The company, however, is talking to the four major labels for a more comprehensive catalog of international and local repertoire.

Each track costs £0.79 ($1.59) for U.K. buyers, €0.99 ($1.36) for purchases in continental Europe, and $0.99 for U.S. customers.

"ROK Media Store is designed to allow millions more people the opportunity to upload, manage and listen to music on their mobiles, in the same way those with an iPod have been able to do," said ROK CEO Laurence Alexander in a statement.

The third phase, to begin later this year, will see the sale of DVD music and movies.

ROK Entertainment will generate income from online sales and advertising on the Web site.

"The idea is to turn the mobile phone into an iPod," Bruce Renny, ROK's marketing director, tells Billboard.biz. "The majority of mobile phones come with a memory card. And as there are far more mobile phones than there are iPods, we're aiming for that much larger market."