Telecoms giant Orange has launched this week an ad-supported music download trial for users of its mobile Internet platform in the U.K.

Through the Orange World platform, 800,000 of Orange's 15.6 million registered mobile customers will have the option to download tracks from a library of 500 songs to their mobile handsets for free, or at a discounted rate.

Paris-based mobile advertising firm ScreenTonic is managing and delivering the ads for the trial, which runs for three months. Among the advertisers taking part in the project are Paramount Pictures and Ford.

"We believe this ad-funded content model will drive adoption and usage of services, and deliver better value content to our customers," comments Orange U.K. head of third party services Steve Ricketts.

The initiative, he explains, will be extended to test other forms of entertainment, such as games.

Orange showed its music credentials when it announced in January that it would ditch digital rights management from music downloads, becoming the first major European operator to hop on the DRM-free bandwagon.