The mobile phone giant has signed an exclusive deal with British music firm Omnifone that will make 1.2 million tracks available from the world's biggest music labels for $4.13 a week through MusicStation.
Vodafone users with compatible handsets were able to download the service beginning Thursday, and it will roll out
The phones will be available from Vodafone and Phones4U shops. Users signed up to the service will be able to create playlists and share songs with other MusicStation users on Vodafone's 2.5G, 3G, and the faster HSDPA mobile networks.
"On a very wide range of handsets, U.K. consumers now have the freedom to download, share, and play unlimited amounts of music, direct to their phone, whenever they want," Omnifone Chief Executive Rob Lewis said in a statement.
and network operators have been looking to music in recent years to boost revenue.
Apple's latest "must-have" gadget, the iPhone, goes on sale in Britain on November 9 through its deal with Spanish-owned O2 and retailer Carphone Warehouse, while Nokia, the world's largest cell phone maker, has also unveiled an online music store.
Analysts have welcomed the fact that MusicStation users will keep their music when they switch handsets--as long as they keep their Vodafone contract--and see the service as an easy and affordable way to buy music.
In addition to the Vodafone U.K. launch, MusicStation has struck deals with Telenor in Sweden and Hutchison Whampoa 3 in Hong Kong. It said on Thursday it would go live with Vodacom in South Africa in early December.