The best British single category at the upcoming Brit Awards will be decided for the first time by a live public vote, organizers the BPI said today (Jan. 8)

Mobile telecommunications giant O2 and handset maker Nokia have thrown their support behind the gala, which will be broadcast live Feb. 14 on national free-to-air U.K. network ITV. O2, which has naming rights to the forthcoming music venue at London's Millennium Dome, will support the live Brits vote, for which nominations will be cast via text message.

"I am excited by the many possibilities that a fully live show offers," comments Brits co-chair and BPI chairman Peter Jamieson. "Thanks to 02 the final winner of the Best British Single Award will be voted for by viewers live on show night prolonging the suspense and adding a great new dynamic to the public vote."

Moreover, a new handset, the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic, has been unveiled as the "official Brit Awards 2007" mobile phone.

Customers to the O2 network will have access to backstage blogs, Brits video footage and a range of Brits-related products. Users of the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic or other selected Nokia handsets will be able to view this content for free.

A shortlist of 11 candidates for the best British single award will be unveiled next Tuesday (Jan. 16) at the official nominations launch party in London, which will be broadcast live on digital and cable TV channel ITV2.

British R&B singer Lemar, pop group the Feeling and rockers the Fratellis will perform at the Hammersmith Palais launch party.