Handset manufacturer Sony Ericsson and network provider Orange have joined forces to launch a new multi-media competition to unearth new musical talent in the United Kingdom.

Orange linked with Sony Ericsson to sell their Walkman handsets with access to the Orange Music Store last year, as well as jointly sponsoring concerts by the likes of Christina Aquilera and the current "Ibiza Rocks" series of shows on the Spanish island.

The partnership is also launching the new W910i Walkman handset around the same time as the competition, which has its own Web site at www.mobileact.co.uk

It is also being filmed for a 12-part U.K. television show, "mobileAct Unsigned," to be screened on Channel Four at the end of the summer.

Orange customers will get free mobile content, Webcasts and downloads of acts taking part as well as being encouraged to vote for their favorite bands.

According to Sony Ericsson and Orange, the search will be led by a panel of well-known artists and music mentors, though none have been confirmed as yet.

The U.K. winners will then be signed to an album deal with an as yet-unnamed major record label. A test-run of the format in Switzerland last year saw victorious band Container Six sign to Sony BMG and support Christina Aquilera when she played the country. They are currently working on their debut album.

John Harber, U.K. Managing Director at Sony Ericsson, told Billboard.biz that the contest is more than a profile-raising exercise for both companies.

"We want to discover credible artists and it's a great way to promote unsigned talent and give people some breaks," he said. "This is just a great way of doing it. If the winning band end up playing the main stage at Glastonbury next year, then that would be a dream come true for me."