[UPDATE: This just in from Apple's John Marx on the question of whether iTunes content can be downloaded directly, via 3G, to an iPhone running on Vodafone NZ's network:
"To give the best customer experience content up to 10MB can be downloaded over 3G. Over that it's then via wi-fi.
Note - you can however stream podcasts and iTunes over 3G and as this is a steam it isn't dependent on file size."]
Telecom today launched what is indisputably New Zealand’s largest home-grown mobile music store - but Vodafone has been quick to pick it apart.
Telecom’s music store, launched today, offers customers of its new XT network 3.2 million tracks, downloadable to Nokia 3120, 6120, 6600 and E71; Samsung F480T, S8300T and 5220; LG GM310; and Sony Ericsson W705 and C510a phones.
A spokesman for Vodafone immediately criticised Telecom for wrapping its songs in copy-protection or DRM (digital rights management), preventing them from being copied to an MP3 player or other device (an exception is if you upgrade or change XT phones. If you do, you can re-download each track).
Vodafone’s music store offers fewer songs (at around 2 million), but has no DRM.
Recently, Apple’s iTunes also eliminated DRM.
Vodafone also has a different pricing model, offering unlimited downloads for $2.50 a week under an all-you-can-eat rental model.
Concurrent with its move away from DRM (and a boost in audio resolution), Apple introduced three tiers of pricing: $1.29, $1.79 (where most songs sit) or $2. 39, depending on popularity (prices are set by record companies). iTunes offers 7 million tracks, and at the highest audio quality. The downside: you can’t download songs on the move (even the iPhone doesn’t offer direct cellular access to iTunes, although it does offer wi-fi access, on Vodafone’s network).
Vodafone says its music store is available to all 3G customers, with 20 devices supported.
Neither carrier includes song downloads as part of a customers's data allowance; XT's service allows iTunes style 30 second preview browsing, which is also not counted toward your cap.
NBR is sticking with its iPod.