Top mobile phone maker Nokia has agreed to buy privately-held U.S. mobile browser firm Novarra to improve Web surfing on a wide range of its low-end and mid-range phones.

Wireless Internet usage is set to surge in 2010 and beyond as operators and phone makers continue to play catchup with Apple's iPhone, with many handset vendors are pinning their faith on their own browsers.

Novarra's rivals, including Opera and Myriad are increasingly refocusing their efforts to sell browsers to telecoms operators, who have a key role in phone distribution on many large markets.

Nokia did not disclose the value of the deal for the company which employs more than 100 staff, adding it aims to close the deal in June quarter.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki)