Ericsson signs first U.S. hosting agreement
Monday, February 13 2006, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERICY), the world’s leading telecommunications supplier, and Napster (NASDAQ: NAPS), the biggest brand in digital music, proudly announced today that SunCom Wireless, a leading wireless phone service provider in the Southeast United States and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, has agreed to offer the Napster Mobile music service to all of its subscribers. SunCom is the first U.S. wireless carrier to agree to offer Napster Mobile, Ericsson’s new, hosted music service featuring Napster’s massive catalog of artist images, ring tones and full-length songs.
Napster Mobile’s integrated software application will allow SunCom Wireless customers to search and browse the content in Napster’s immense catalog via their wireless handsets, and an integrated mobile music player will let them listen to 30-second previews of any song in the service, as well as play all the music they purchase.
Customers will also be able to use Napster Mobile’s handset application to purchase and receive full-length songs, and since Napster Mobile is a dual platform digital music service fully integrated with Napster’s PC offering, a copy of the purchased content is simultaneously sent to the customer’s PC. SunCom’s subscribers can then use Napster’s award-winning PC software to listen to the song, create playlists, rip and burn CDs and even transfer the song to other portable devices.
Napster Mobile gives customers access to Napster’s expert programming on the handset, including featured artists and top tracks of the day. It also features a recommendation engine, which makes content recommendations based upon each consumer’s personal musical taste.
The Napster Mobile service is scheduled to go live on the SunCom Wireless Network during the first half of this year.
Emilio Echave, Senior Vice President of Operations, SunCom Wireless, says: “Our customers are our top priority and offering them the latest technology, like Napster Mobile, is just one of the ways we are delivering on our Truth in Wireless promise. We are excited to be the first operator to sign up for Napster Mobile, and we believe our customers will be equally excited by the unique mobile music experience it will provide.”
Napster Mobile is based on Ericsson’s Service Delivery Platform, SDP Media, tailored for media delivery. Ericsson will host, integrate and manage the round-the-clock-operations of the service for Suncom Wireless under a managed service agreement. The agreement also includes content aggregation and digital rights management and is based on a risk- and revenue-share model.
Hans Vestberg, Executive Vice President Global Services, Ericsson, says: “We feel very confident that Suncom Wireless customers will enjoy the Napster Mobile music service and appreciate its flexibility and ease-of-use. Music is an increasingly strategic area for telecom players so we value our partnership with Napster and are optimistic about the future of Napster Mobile.”
Hosting is a part of Ericsson’s managed services offering. The global trend towards managed services is accelerating as operators and vendors work in partnership to reduce costs and bring new services to market as quickly as possible.
Ericsson is shaping the future of Mobile and Broadband Internet communications through its continuous technology leadership. Providing innovative solutions in more than 140 countries, Ericsson is helping to create the most powerful communication companies in the world.
About Ericsson’s Managed Services offering
Ericsson has the telecom industry’s most comprehensive managed services offerings, ranging from designing, building, operating and managing day-to-day operations of a customer’s network, to hosting service applications and enablers, as well as providing network coverage and capacity on demand. As the undisputed leader in managed services, Ericsson has officially announced over 60 managed services contracts with operators worldwide since 2002. In all current managed services contracts, excluding hosting, Ericsson is managing networks that together serve 53 million subscribers worldwide.
About SunCom Wireless
SunCom Wireless is a leader in offering digital wireless communications services to consumers in the Southeastern United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. SunCom is committed to delivering Truth in Wireless by treating customers with respect, offering simple, straightforward plans and by providing access to the largest GSM network and the latest technology choices. For more information visit www.suncom.com.
Napster, the biggest brand in digital music, is a subscription service that enables fans to freely sample the world’s largest and most diverse online collection of music and move an unlimited amount of songs to compatible portable audio players. Napster (www.napster.com) members have access to Napster’s catalog of over 1.5 million songs from the major labels and hundreds of independents and have more ways to discover, share and acquire new music and old favorites with community features like the ability to email tracks to friends and browse other members’ collections. Napster also offers Napster Light, a “lighter” version of the service for those who just want to purchase songs and albums a la carte. Napster is now available in the United States, Canada, Germany and the U.K. and is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in New York, London, Frankfurt and Tokyo. Read more at: www.napster.com
Safe Harbor Statement
Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release, in particular matters related to Napster’s relationship with Ericsson and the success of the Napster service, contain forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties such as the new and rapidly changing nature of the mobile and online music industries, dependence on the growth of the Internet, broadband and wireless technologies, failure to maintain strategic relationships, risks associated with governmental regulation and legal uncertainties, reliance on content provided by third parties and failure of the Napster service to interoperate with the hardware of Napster’s customers, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Additional information on these and other factors are contained in Napster’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q as filed with the SEC on February 8, 2006, copies of which are available at the website maintained by the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. Napster assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements included in this press release.
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