Sprint Nextel music downloads hit 1 million mark

Thursday, February 16, 2006

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sprint Nextel Corp. said Wednesday that customers of its Sprint Music Store have downloaded 1 million songs since it opened Oct. 24.

The Music Store was the wireless industry's first service allowing customers to buy songs and download them to their phones over the air. Customers can choose from 320,000 songs, paying $2.50 for two copies of each tune, one for the phone and one for a home computer.

Verizon Wireless launched its "over-the-air" service in January. Spokesman David Clevenger declined to say how many songs the V-Cast music store has sold in its first month, but he said the company was "happy" with its service, which offers a larger library than Sprint and charges $1.99 for two copies of each song.

Considering Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store sells more than 1 million songs a day, Sprint's entrance into the mobile music realm appears still in its infancy.

But David Gunasegaram, a spokesman for Sprint Nextel, said such comparisons were "inaccurate."

"The Sprint Music Store was a completely new category in the U.S.," he said. "This is a completely new device and new service."

Cingular Wireless LLC has phones that play songs from iTunes, but those must be downloaded to a computer before being transferred to the phone.

Sprint shares gained 10 cents to close at $24.09 in trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $21.57 to $27.20.

Sprint Nextel is based in Reston, Va., with operational headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.

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