As previously reported by Billboard, wireless operator Sprint has launched the first U.S. digital music store that lets customers download full songs to their mobile phones. The Sprint Music Store all

As previously reported by Billboard, wireless operator Sprint has launched the first U.S. digital music store that lets customers download full songs to their mobile phones.

The Sprint Music Store allows users to browse from a library of 250,000 songs, preview 30-second clips and buy the full track for $2.50. Purchased songs are delivered immediately to the phone, with a higher-quality WMA-version stored online which users can later download to their PC for transfer to an MP3 player or burn to a CD.

The service is available on only two phone models, both new phones Sprint is introducing in conjunction with the new service, which customers must buy if they want to access the store. The phones, one from Samsung and another form Sanyo, are music-optimized devices featuring the music store icon in the main menu as well as dedicated music player controls.

The Sanyo phone ships with a 16MB card for $230 after a rebate, while the Samsung contains a 32MB card for $250 after rebate. Sprint is offering an optional 1GB card upgrade that would allow users to store 1,000 songs if purchased from the store, but only 330 of the larger MP3 files if transferred from a PC.

These phones also connect to Sprint's new "Power Vision" high-speed network. The Sprint Music Store is the premier feature of the broadband network, which also offers access to mobile TV, streaming radio from Sirius and other multimedia features.

The music service is powered by Groove Mobile, the back-end technology behind the wireless music stores of European operators Orange and Telenor, as well as SingTel in Singapore. Groove has content licensing agreements with all four major music labels, as well as independents Beggars Group, Digital Rights Agency and V2 Records.