Wireless operator Sprint PCS is expected to unveil a wireless, full-song download service on Monday (Oct. 31), sources close to the situation tell Billboard.biz.
Pricing is still unclear, but sources say songs will cost $2 or more per track, well above the 99-cent per download fee made popular by iTunes and other online music stores. The online store would be the first of its kind in the U.S.
According to one source, Sprint customers in certain areas of the country who purchased newer phone models have already accessed the service and downloaded songs in advance of the announcement.
The new service will be powered by Groove Mobile, which also is the back-end technology behind the wireless music stores of European operators Orange and Telenor, as well as SingTel in Singapore.
Groove has content licensing agreements with all four major music labels, as well as independents Beggars Group, Digital Rights Agency and V2 Records.
The store will feature what is known as “dual-delivery,” meaning any track purchased from the service will be sent to both the customer’s phone and home computer. The track sent to the phone will be compressed and formatted for that device, while the track sent to the computer will be a larger file, formatted in WMA digital rights management technology.
The music download service relies on new, high-speed wireless networks that Sprint is in the process of implementing nationwide. The music store is believed to be just one element of a broader relaunch of Sprint’s Vision data service that may include additional multimedia applications that take advantage of these advanced networks.
Sprint has already sold a handful of mobile phones capable of tapping these advanced networks, such as the Audiovox PPC6600 device.
Sprint rival Verizon is also prepping the launch of a full-song download service, expected in the first quarter of next year.