Nokia calls time on free music download service

MOBILE phone manufacturer Nokia is to discontinue its free music downloads service in most of the major markets it operates in.

The Finnish multinational communications company will drop its Ovi Music Unlimited service in the UK and 26 other countries.

Launched in 2008 as “Comes with Music” the service was designed to compete with the iTunes platform but failed to make a significant impact on Apple’s dominance of the music downloads market.

The subscription service allowed users to download an unlimited number of tracks for free over a 12 month period to their mobile handsets and keep them after the end of the period.

It was an initiative supported by major record companies Universal, Sony BMG and Warner Music.

Despite a lack of success in western markets, the service will continue in several emerging markets where it has proved more popular, including China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.

Existing subscribers will be able to continue downloading unlimited music until subscriptions run out, whilst new handsets equipped with the service that are still to be sold can still be activated by the end of this year.