China, Japan and Korea to cooperate on 4G development

China, South Korea and Japan have reached an agreement to cooperate on development of a 4G mobile standard.

Senior officials from China, Japan and South Korea have agreed to strengthen cooperation between their countries in several key technology areas, including the development of a 4G (fourth-generation) mobile technology standard, China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) said Thursday.

Heizo Takenaka, Japan's minister of internal affairs and communications; Wang Xudong, China's minister of information industry; and Rho Jun-hyung, South Korea's minister of information and communications, signed an accord on technology cooperation earlier this week during a meeting in Xiamen, China, MII said.

In that accord, the three ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation between in their countries in six areas, including advanced mobile technology and open-source software, MII said. It did not provide details of the agreement.

Discussions on the development of 4G technology may seem premature for China, especially since MII has yet to issue licenses for 3G services. In addition, testing of China's homegrown 3G standard, TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), has yet to be completed.

However, research has already begun on more advanced mobile technologies and China wants to be involved in these efforts.

Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo is one of the companies that has so far led the development of 4G technologies. Last year, the company successfully tested 4G technology that allowed transmission speeds up to 2.5G bps (bits per second) in a moving vehicle.

That's several orders of magnitude faster than existing 3G networks. For example, DoCoMo's current 3G network, based on WCDMA technology, offers speeds up to 384K bps.

4G technology is not expected to enter commercial use before 2010.

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