October 4, 2005

Motorola Signs Up Universal for iRadio

NEW YORK -- Motorola Inc., the world's No. 2 cellphone maker, on Tuesday said it signed up Universal Music Group for iRadio, a wireless music service Motorola is planning for the 2006 first quarter.

The Vivendi Universal-owned label, which has performers such as Eminem and Mariah Carey in its catalog, is the first to make its music available for the Motorola service, which will cost about $7 a month in subscription fees.

The service will include hundreds of channels of preprogrammed commercial-free music and talk stations that can be downloaded from computers to mobile phones and played on the phone, on car stereos or on home stereos. It will also allow users to transfer their own music collections to the phone.

Music is seen by the cellphone industry as the next big thing in wireless as handset makers and operators look to expand beyond conventional phone calls.

Motorola, which had hoped to introduce iRadio in the fourth quarter this year, now plans to launch it at the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas in January. It expects to kick off the service with a phone that has storage for about 70 hours of music, going on sale with at least one U.S. carrier.

"We have a few carriers that are very interested. Initially, it's going to be in the United States, but Europe will follow soon afterward," Motorola spokesman Paul Alfieri said.

Alfieri said the service could compliment rather than compete with wireless music download services that U.S. wireless phone companies are planning. He said the service could introduce consumers to new songs they could later buy and download wirelessly.

Satellite radio providers such as XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. could also offer their content to mobile users through iRadio, Alfieri said. He declined to say if Motorola was in talks with these companies.

"We're interested in having anybody who's got any content on board," he said.