First Cellular Music Downloads
Toronto — Rogers Wireless became the first North American carrier to let subscribers use cellphones to purchase and download songs directly to their handset and to their PC.
Consumers can download full songs from Universal and Warner. Two Motorola and two Nokia phones can be used to purchase songs for playback on a PC, but, for now, only the Nokia 6620 can download songs into memory for on-the-go playback. The cost of twin downloads to the phone and PC is $2.99 per song. The cost of a PC-only download is $1.25 to $1.99.
Kyocera To Outsource
San Diego — Kyocera Wireless plans to outsource all of its handset manufacturing to contract manufacturer Flextronics during the next three months. Kyocera Wireless manufactures phones for North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Israel and other markets.
Kyocera Wireless accounts for the majority of Kyocera handset volume worldwide. Separate Kyocera subsidiaries in Japan and China continue to build their own phones for those two markets.
Kyocera Wireless said the outsourcing will enable Kyocera to take advantage of Flextronics’ greater economies of scale and production capacity to meet expected demand and make prices more competitive.
Earlier this year, Kyocera Wireless closed its San Diego manufacturing facility to shift production to a Mexican factory that builds other types of products for sister Kyocera companies. The U.S. facility was originally called Qualcomm Personal Electronics, a manufacturing joint venture between Qualcomm and Sony. Kyocera purchased the facility in February 2000.
Kyocera will continue to research, develop and market cellphones in the United States.
Virgin’s High-Use Option
Warren, N.J. — Virgin Mobile launched a prepaid program for frequent talkers, who pay 35 cents per day to get a 10-cent per-minute rate all day. The 35-cent charge applies every day whether a call is made or not. Other carriers charge 99 cents per day to make 10-cent calls, Virgin said.
Arlington, Texas — NCI Cellular has begun distributing Phone Labs’ Dock-N-Talk to Idaho’s Snake River PCS, making Snake River one of the first U.S. carriers to offer the device.
NCI is currently the sole distributor of Dock-N-Talk, developed by Phone Labs of Bridgeport, Conn.
The device connects a cellular phone to a home's telephone wiring, enabling users to send and receive cellular calls from any landline handset in the house. Consumers can create a dedicated cellphone line on the second line in their home while maintaining standard landline service on the first. Consumers can also use it to disconnect local landline service entirely, either in a primary residence or in a second home.
Adapter cables enable more than 550 phone models to connect to the Dock-N-Talk base. Phone Labs also sells it direct at $139, plus $19.99 to $29.99 for a connecting cable.
MVNO Surge Seen
Boston — The Yankee Group forecast $10.7 billion in service revenues by mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in 2010, but the company tempered its projections by noting that little room is left for new market entrants.
“Even with the current boom, sustainability for medium and smaller MVNOs remains uncertain” because they “will be challenged by the fewer subscribers and the remaining revenue left to claim,” the market research company said.
By 2010, MVNOs will account for 29 million subscribers, dominated mainly by a few larger MVNOs. “Several” large MVNOs will account for 24 million subscribers, and medium-size MVNOs will account for 2.5 million. A dozen small MVNOs will share only 2.5 million subs.
Low Interest In Mobile Video
New York — Only 19 percent of consumers are interested in paying for video service on their cellphone, but 44 percent wouldn’t mind getting it for free, according to a Jupiter Research survey of online consumers. In fact, only 4 percent of consumers said the ability to view video on their next cellphone is a priority for them.