Mobile tech giants sign LTE licensing pact

Several of the world's largest technology companies have agreed to a licensing framework for their Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology patents, according to an report.

The companies include the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer Nokia, biggest mobile network equipment maker Ericsson, plus Alcatel-Lucent, NEC, NextWave Wireless, Nokia Siemens Networks and Sony Ericsson. They said they were aiming to boost take-up of the new technology by agreeing to license their patents on fair and reasonable terms 'Today's announcement is a step toward establishing more predictable and transparent licensing costs in a manner that enables faster adoption of new technologies,' said Ilkka Rahnasto, head of Nokia's intellectual property rights.

LTE promises to make everything from video sharing to music downloads speedier via mobile, but the first networks are not expected for two years and many operators will defer investment until the technology matures.

The companies have committed to keeping royalty levels for essential LTE patents in handsets below 10% of the sale price, with the maximum royalty in LTE-enabled notebooks staying below US$10 (€6.32).

Verizon Wireless, the US' second largest mobile service, is to build an LTE network, while China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile service provider, said it would test LTE earlier this year .

Alcatel-Lucent and Japan's NEC signed a joint-venture deal to pool their development and marketing of the technology. Even Qualcomm has promised chips for LTE, a competitor to its Ultra Mobile Broadband technology.