SingTel to offer mobile music fusion

A proprietary compression algorithm will power a new high-quality mobile phone music service to be launched by Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) next month.

The service, called RadioFusion, will offer near CD-quality sound over standard second-generation Global System for Mobile Communications with General Packet Radio Service (GSM/GPRS) networks and high-quality video over third-generation (3G) networks in future, according to Devan Nair of Phee Phoo, the developer of the algorithm.

The service differs from other music download services in several ways, according to Nair.

The new algorithm, which is in the process of being patented, preserves music quality while reducing the file size enough to enable the system to work on relatively slow 2G networks.

The user downloads the RadioFusion client, rather than individual songs. The RadioFusion client manages the entire process, including digital rights management, to prevent users swapping and copying songs.

RadioFusion would meet users' demands for high-quality sound, Nair said.

"Look at people who buy MP3 players -- they usually throw them away within a month because the quality is so poor and go back to carrying their CD players around with them," said Nair.

SingTel will launch the service in Singapore next month, and then roll it out in other Asian countries where it has operations, beginning with Australia.

The proprietary algorithm, designated .zok, will be offered exclusively to SingTel in those countries, but will be available to other operators in other countries, Nair said.

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