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Telecom firms to develop new mobile standard

/ Source: The Associated Press

About 26 wireless carriers and telecom equipment makers have agreed to develop an advanced mobile phone standard that will enable users to send and receive high-resolution video instantly, an official said Tuesday.

Cingular Wireless of the United States, Britain-based mobile giant Vodafone Group PLC, China Mobile and Japanese electronics manufacturer NEC Corp. are among the companies taking part in the effort, NTT DoCoMo Inc. spokesman Riichi Tsutsui said.

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's top mobile phone carrier, is also part of the recent agreement to develop a beefed-up standard for a third-generation mobile phone system called W-CDMA.

Tsutsui said about 26 companies are participating in the project but he didn't have further details.

Third-generation, or 3G, mobile phones can relay information at up to about 40 times the speed of current handset models. The service is starting to take off among the tech-savvy in some nations, including Japan, South Korea, Britain and other European nations.

Companies taking part in the project will try to raise 3G communication speeds to those obtained by optical fiber — 100 megabits per second, or about 2,000 times faster than dial-up modems, Tsutsui said.

That will allow people to exchange high quality video and other large files. The current 3G technology offered by DoCoMo — the first company to offer the service commercially — relays information at up to 384 kilobits per second.

Video relayed on today's 3G phones still tends to be blurry, although the quality has improved considerably.

The companies will work together to come up with a common standard by 2007 and hope to offer the new 3G system by around 2009, Tsutsui said.

DoCoMo's 3G service was launched in October 2001 in Japan. KDDI Corp., DoCoMo's rival here, offers a different kind of 3G technology called CDMA2000.