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Analyst: Cingular to use Motorola's iTunes phone

Cingular Wireless is expected to reveal plans at Sept. 7 Apple event to become first mobile operator to offer phone that plays iTunes.

Cingular Wireless is expected to reveal plans next week to sell a Motorola mobile phone that plays music using Apple Computer's iTunes software, an analyst said Tuesday.

Cingular, the wireless venture of SBC Communications and BellSouth, could introduce the phone at an Apple event scheduled for Sept. 7 in San Francisco, becoming the first mobile operator to offer such a product.

"Industry sources tell me that there will be a joint announcement between Motorola, Apple and Cingular announcing the launch of a branded Cingular offer with iTunes," Ovum analyst Roger Entner said.

Music downloads are expected to be one of the hottest services for wireless providers in the next year as these companies bet that consumers will increase spending as they use their phones for activities other than talking.

Apple, which reinvented itself in recent years and helped popularize digital music players with its iPod digital music player, and Motorola said last summer they were working on bringing the popular iTunes music download service to mobile phones.

Last month, Motorola said the device would go on sale by the end of September, despite speculation among analysts that mobile operators were not interested in selling the device.

Reports emerged in June that Cingular--the first operator to sell Motorola's hugely popular and iconic design phone the Razr--was considering selling the iTunes phone.

Representatives from Cingular declined to comment. Apple, which announced its Sept. 7 event on Monday, was not immediately available to comment.

Motorola spokeswoman Monica Rohleder said she could not comment beyond the company's previously announced plans to launch the device by the end of the third quarter.

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.