http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/telecoms/article1364105.ece MOBILE-PHONE companies are planning to launch a music-download service intended to scupper Apples hopes for its eagerly-awaited iPhone, the music-playing mobile that will not reach Europe until later this year. A London firm called Omnifone has developed the software that will power the subscription service, offering unlimited access to more than 1m songs for a small weekly fee. Vodafone and the 3 Group are among more than 20 mobile network operators said to be working with Omnifone. The project is also understood to have the backing of Universal Music and other leading music companies. The first roll-outs of the service are expected to take place in the next few months. Apples unveiling of its iPhone last month has increased the pressure on the mobile industry to accelerate the development of the mobile-music market. Music has long been seen as a potential moneyspinner for mobile revenues for the mobile companies. Like an iPod, the iPhone will be side-loaded with music through a computer. Omnifone has presented itself as the solution to this dilemma. The company believes its music service will enable mobile companies to generate additional revenue from customers, who will pay less than £10 a month. Omnifone was founded by Rob Lewis, the entrepreneur who previously ran Silicon.com, the technology-news website. The handset software has been designed to offer an iPod- like experience, including easy access to the playlist. The system will also intelligently manage memory space? deleting rarely played songs to make room for new downloads. However, one big advantage claimed for Omnifone is that its software works on three-quar- ters of existing handsets, and over slower 2.5G mobile networks. This greatly increases the market size. Many mobile applications struggle to cope with the huge variety of handsets, operating systems and networks.