AT&T announced today that Napster’s entire music catalog of over five million songs will be available to AT&T’s mobile phone customers early next month. The service will expand the company’s offerings beyond the independent music offers through eMusic. This will allow AT&T to compete with Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel in the music download arena. AT&T currently allows Napster subscribers to transfer music form their personal computer to their cell phone via a cable or storage card. Both companies hope to improve sales of music by allowing data to be directly downloaded to mobile phones over a WiFi network.
Songs will cost $1.99 each, or $7.49 for five per month. Users who download a song to their phone will get an e-mail allowing them to put a second copy on their personal computer for no extra charge. Apple and Sprint Nextel both sell songs for 99 cents each so it will be interesting to watch and see if AT&T lowers the price of the Napster service in the future. Both companies are hoping that customers won’t be put off by higher charges and make spontaneous price insensitive purchases. The Napster service will not work with Apple’s iPhone, even though AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the United States.