Four of the biggest mobile handset manufacturers have joined forces to back wireless mobile standard Long Term Evolution (LTE).

Between them, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, NEC and Alcatel-Lucent have formed a licensing framework that will protect their patents and is "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory".

The deal also involves NextWave Wireless and Nokia Siemens Networks.

LTE will be faster and cover greater distances than current 3G services and will work with mobile phones, as well as laptops and even fixed broadband connections, potentially replacing Wi-Fi.

The service will go head-to-head with WiMax, another wireless service, which is being backed by Intel and rolled out in the US, China and certain parts of the UK.

"We hope that this initiative will help for a wide adoption of this technology across devices and applications, enabling a wireless lifestyle for consumers and enterprises and creating value for technology providers," said Olivier Baujard, chief technology officer at Alcatel-Lucent.

See also:

Mobile WiMax to hit UK in near future