Nokia's India music store being tested

The download service will initially be available only against vouchers issued to handset buyers

Nokia has started testing its online music store in India, with plans to launch services to consumers before the end of this year.

"Right now our own people are testing the site, and we will go live as scheduled in the second half of this year," a spokeswoman for Nokia said on Wednesday.

The music download service will be initially available only against vouchers issued to customers at the time of buying handsets and other equipment from Nokia, the spokeswoman said.

Allowing consumers to pay online to download music will require the site to have a payment mechanism. This will be possible only after Nokia's joint venture with Indian partner, HCL Infosystems, starts handling the online payments, the spokeswoman said. By Indian rules, online retailing requires a company that has an Indian partner, she added.

Nokia said in January it was setting up a joint venture with HCL to offer mobile value-added services such as navigation, music and other entertainment to Indian consumers.

A number of companies, including mobile phone service providers, are now offering online music downloads in India.

Nokia has signed up a number of top music labels in the country. On its beta site it currently features music from a number of labels including T-Series, Times Music, and Universal Music India. "The store will help promote legal music," the spokeswoman said.

Nokia said on its India music store site that its service uses Microsoft DRM (digital rights management) technology.

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