OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Sprint Nextel Corp. is becoming the latest cell phone carrier to let its customers listen to music on the devices.
The nation's No. 3 wireless provider said Monday that it and Seattle-based digital media provider RealNetworks Inc. are launching a streaming music service for Sprint PCS customers called Rhapsody Radio.
The service provides streaming radio stations, a freestyle rap service called "Beats N Breaks," music news, videos and podcasts - recorded audio files that are downloaded from the Internet - for $6.95 per month.
This is the second partnership between the companies. Sprint, with corporate headquarters in Reston, Va., and operational headquarters in Overland Park, already uses RealNetworks to provide streaming video content for its Real-rTV service.
Wireless companies, inspired by the popularity of Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod and other MP3 players, have raced each other to add music content to their service portfolios.
Earlier this month, Apple introduced the Motorola Inc.-made ROKR phone that comes loaded with iTunes software and allows users to load up to 100 songs on their phones. The service is being sold in the United States by Cingular Wireless.
Verizon Wireless also provides downloadable music videos over its service.
Shares of Sprint were down 55 cents at $24.83 in morning trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. They have traded in a 52-week range of $19.70 to $27.20.
Shares of RealNetworks were up 22 cents at $5.81 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. They have traded in a 52-week range of $4.54 to $7.40.