Verizon, Sprint balk at iTunes phone

BusinessWeek reports that Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and Cingular will introduce new services for downloading digital music directly to mobile phones later this year, and that the first two companies have already turned down carrying the Motorola iTunes phone because of their upcoming offerings. The wireless carriers want to be able to charge customers to download songs over the air, instead of allowing them to freely transfer music from their computer to their phone.

“The two sides also have very different perspectives on how digital music stores should work,” notes BusinessWeek. “Verizon, Sprint, and Cingular are expected to charge about $2 for wireless downloads when they introduce their services, or twice the 99 cents per song on iTunes. They figure they can charge a premium for the convenience of getting songs anytime, even though customers most likely won’t be able to listen to those songs anywhere but on their phones, at least initially. One knowledgeable source close to Apple says the operators are simply being unrealistic if they expect customers to pay $2 or $3 for a song, especially with restrictions.”

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