Ericsson has announced a new service allowing users to pay and download music, ringtones and artist images from the Napster peer-to-peer network to their mobile phones and PCs.

The phone manufacturer will offer Napster Mobile as a hosted service to mobile operators that, in turn, make the offering available to their customers.

The service will be available in the first half of this year, said Hans Vestberg, executive vice president and general manager of Ericsson's global services business unit.

Users can access the content either via WAP or through software they can download and install on their phones, according to Ericsson.

The Napster Mobile service is designed to provide consumers with a simple way to search and browse Napster's huge music catalog, Ericsson said. They can preview, purchase and download songs on their mobile handsets through an integrated music player.

The service automatically delivers content to both handsets and PCs, enabling users to manage their music collection through one interface.

With Napster's PC software users can listen to music, transfer it to other devices, and burn CDs.

Under the deal, Napster is responsible for music programming and back-end integration to the service. Ericsson is in charge of wireless application development, operator integration, hosting, and content settlement through its Internet Payment eXchange.