Mobile handset and equipment manufacturers and network operators have joined forces to develop faster "super 3G" technology.
Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, Cingular, Siemens and Alcatel are working together to make sure the next stage in high-speed mobile wireless data is ready after the first fledgling 3G services have become established.
The group expects that the first incarnation of super 3G will be ready in about two years time, with the partners aiming to introduce commercial super 3G speeds that are about 10 times higher than current levels.
Today’s 3G technology typically allows users to download data at around 380kbps, but NTT has already staged outdoor tests that deliver speeds of 100mbps as part of its own "4G" development programme.
And in laboratory tests, NTT has gone as high as 1Gbps with wireless downloads.
The Japanese government is expecting a widespread 4G service in its own country by 2010.