June 14, 2005 9:48 AM PDT

Sprint gets Sirius about music

Sirius Satellite Radio announced on Tuesday it signed a deal with Sprint to offer music to its cellular phone customers, marking the latest effort to turn the phone into an all-in-one communications and entertainment device.

Sirius will distribute its music content nationwide over Sprint's cellular network, rather than as a satellite feed, said Jim Collins, a Sirius spokesman. Sprint is currently evaluating which music formats it will carry and what the service will cost its PCS Vision customers. The service is expected to be available later next year.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sirius will be available to Sprint customers who have signed up for its $15-a-month PCS Vision, an Internet service that uses Sprint's higher-speed wireless network.

The arrangement with Sirius is in addition to Sprint's relationship with MSpot, which provides entertainment content such as music, news and talk shows, to mobile customers. MSpot and Sprint announced their deal in April and are expected to add music videos to the range of offerings by the end of the month, said Daren Tsui, MSpot's chief executive.

Tsui noted that his service is different from Sirius in that MSpot users not only can listen to music and news live, they can have content delivered on demand.

Sprint, which also offers the music service Music Choice, has signed contracts with the three content providers to give customers a wide range of music and entertainment choices, said Suzanne Lammers, a Sprint spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, consumers armed with cellular phones are also tapping into similar music services, including Virgin Radio, which offers a range of music for select 3G handheld devices and phones.

Other cell phone operators are expected to follow Sprint's lead, said independent telephone analyst Jeff Kagan. "Sprint has traditionally thought ahead with their technology and phones, and that gives them a competitive advantage for these customer--at least until the competitors also offer the services," Kagan said.

 

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