In a move that suggests mobile phones could soon eclipse CDs as the preferred channel for releasing singles, an Italian-British band will next month offer a new track exclusively available as a download to handsets.

Planet Funk will release its track Stop Me to customers of Hutchison 3G on 8 May, the mobile-phone operator said yesterday.

Millions of people now have a "record shop in their pocket", and Planet Funk wants to tap into that new audience, band member Alex Neri said in a statement on a press release.

The move follows a trend by bands such as Nizlopi, Arctic Monkeys and OK Go to use the internet to build a fan base instead of following the traditional promotion route, according to Hutchison 3G.

The move also comes as the UK company and many other mobile-phone operators around the world bank on media content as a new revenue stream to counterbalance falling prices and profits in their cash-cow voice business.

Hutchison 3G has sold more than 16 million music downloads over the past two years.

The operator offers a dual-download service, allowing customers to download the full-length audio track to both their mobile handset and a PC with one single purchase of £0.99.

The Stop Me video and behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the music video clip will also be available.

The British operator is a member of the Hutchison 3 Group, which operates in several countries.

At the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, musician Craig David set the tone of the mobile entertainment summit by singing a song and telling a packed auditorium that mobile phones will have a huge impact on the music industry.

"The music industry has gone from vinyl records to CDs and is now moving to mobile devices," said David, a former DJ turned singer. "We all need to work together on this new channel: musicians, recording companies, handset manufacturers and mobile phone operators alike."