SFR to provide Napster services to 4G customers

Customers of SFR’s 4G services will have access to online music from Napster thanks to a new partnership between the two companies.

The deal is the latest example of collaboration between operators and so-called over-the-top (OTT) providers, which have traditionally been viewed as a threat to the revenues operators generate from traditional telecoms activities.

Customers of SFR’s 4G services will have access to online music from Napster thanks to a new partnership between the two companies.

The deal is the latest example of collaboration between operators and so-called over-the-top (OTT) providers, which have traditionally been viewed as a threat to the revenues operators generate from traditional telecoms activities.

Napster (Seattle, WA, USA) introduced services in France and a number of other European markets in June, and is clearly hoping that deals with telecoms service providers will popularize its offerings in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Spotify (Stockholm, Sweden) and Deezer (Paris, France).

Both those rivals have formed similar tie-ups with large European operators that see OTT partnerships as a way of differentiating themselves from the competition.

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (Bonn), for instance, has a deal with Spotify allowing many of its customers in Germany to access the music provider’s premium service free of charge.

Operators are also looking to content partnerships to embellish their recently launched 4G services.

The UK’s Vodafone (Newbury), which launched 4G technology last month, allows customers to access content from Sky Sports and Spotify, besides enjoying higher-speed connections.

According to Napster’s statement, SFR’s (Paris, France) 4G customers will be able to switch between five available Napster options on a monthly basis and access more than 20 million songs – online and offline – using smartphones and tablets.

The service is currently available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, as well as smartphones using the Android operating system.

“This partnership with SFR is a great example of how we are committed to making Napster accessible everywhere people want to enjoy music,” said Thorsten Schliesche, Napster’s senior vice president and general manager for Europe.

“The co-operation with SFR is a further, very attractive opportunity to get easy and unlimited access to our premium music streaming service – whenever and wherever you are,” he added.

SFR began providing 4G services in France at the end of 2012 and launched the technology in Paris last month.

It aims to cover the whole of the French capital and a total of 55 cities and towns by the end of the year, representing about 50% of the country’s population.

The operator was recently boosted by Apple’s (Cupertino, CA, USA) launch of new iPhone models that are compatible with the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies it is using to provide 4G services.