We’ve been covering mobile firm ROK’s plans to launch a music-focused mobile operator – well, a virtual one, an MVNO – in the US this summer. On Friday, it went live, sort of. GigaOm reports that ROK Mobile is only available to friends of the company and an undisclosed number of people who’ve asked for an invite on its website. They’ll all get a 14-day free trial of the company’s streaming music app, before being prompted to switch operators to sign up for its $50-a-month tariff including unlimited voice calls, texts and data. The company is characterising the limited rollout as a marketing strategy, according to the piece, with the aim of making ROK Mobile feel exclusive – the early-days-Gmail approach – as well as getting feedback from early adopters before pushing it out more widely. We’ll be watching closely to see how the economics can stack up on this: as GigaOm notes, a $50-a-month unlimited-everything plan is already undercutting established mobile operators in the US by a significant margin, even before you add in the costs of streaming music licensing.
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