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3 goes Android with Spotify-bundled Hero

All five major UK mobile operators now offer Android handsets, after 3 announced it will bundle the HTC Hero with a Spotify Premium subscription
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

3 is to start carrying HTC's Hero handset in November, making it the last of the five major UK mobile operators to begin offering an Android phone.

The company will bundle the Hero with a Spotify Premium subscription for the duration of the handset's two-year contract, so users can download unlimited tracks from the internet music service. 3 is the first UK mobile operator to offer a Spotify Premium bundle.

"This partnership continues our commitment to bring popular internet services to our customers," 3's director of products and services, Charlotte Blanchard, said in the company's announcement on Monday.

Blanchard added that bundling Spotify Premium with the Hero was a "first step" in the operator's relationship with the web-based jukebox service. The company intends to extend the Spotify relationship across a range of its products, including some of its mobile broadband deals, she said.

The operator's Hero deal, which includes unlimited texts, email and internet browsing, costs £35 per month over 24 months, with an additional £99 upfront fee.

A subscription to Spotify Premium, which allows the user to download tracks to their iPhone or Android handset, ordinarily costs £10 per month. Over the two years of 3's Hero contract, this brings the total value of the bundled service to £240.

A spokesperson for 3 told ZDNet UK that the operator will start selling the Hero sometime in early November, but could not specify the precise date.

The spokesperson could not comment on whether 3 will bring out an INQ handset that incorporates the Spotify service. 3 is a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, whose chairman, Li Ka-shing, is an investor in Spotify.

The handset manufacturer INQ is also a Hutchison subsidiary, and INQ chief executive Frank Meehan took a place on Spotify's board when Li confirmed his investment in August of this year.

3 Spotify Premium

3 will be the first UK operator to bundle Spotify Premium with a mobile-phone contract
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