SingTel, Southeast Asia's largest telco, on Sunday launched in Singapore a service that lets mobile subscribers download music files and videos which it hopes to introduce to other parts of Asia.
Developed with Universal Music, SingTel hopes the web-based facility, called AMPed, will help it attract new customers as well as get existing subscribers to upgrade service plans. The two firms launched the new initiative at a media event attended by American pop star Lady Gaga.
SingTel decided two years ago that the telco of the future needs to be more than just bits and bytes, SingTel's CEO for Singapore Allen Lew said.
More than 50 percent of Singapore mobile users listened to music on their phones and SingTel needed to provide customers with information and entertainment as well, he said.
SingTel, which owns Australia's number two telco Optus and stakes in mobile phone companies in India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh, has been diversifying into content to reduce its reliance on pure carriage.
It now provides a web-based pay TV service in Singapore as well as lifestyle Internet portals.
Rob Wells, senior vice president of digital at Universal Music, a unit of France's Vivendi's, said the firm hoped to develop similar services with other Asian telcos as it expected music sales via mobile phones to soar in coming years.
SingTel and Universal Music's AMPed works with 3G (or third generation) handsets from Nokia, Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson.
(Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)