The group, called Voice over LTE via Generic Access Form, or VoLGA Forum, wants to create a standard for sending texts, voice, and other services that's based on the current 3GPP Generic Access Network. The forum wants cellular carriers to be able to achieve these services over LTE networks using the core networks that are used today for voice services on GSM and UMTS networks.
The forum intends by the middle of this year to complete and publish these standards, which could help spur the rollout of LTE networks. The group also includes Huawei, Kineto Wireless, Motorola, Nortel, Samsung, Starent Networks, and ZTE.
As smartphone customers use and demand faster mobile data, the next generation of mobile broadband holds much promise because of the potential increase in download speeds. LTE is averaging 10 Mbps in early trials, but it has a theoretical limit of 100 Mbps. This type of downlink speed could potentially let carriers challenge home Internet service providers, as well as offer new services like high-definition video streaming to mobile devices.
Verizon Wireless recently announced a plan to have LTE networks in about 30 markets by the end of 2010, which is earlier than most industry watchers expected. The aggressive rollout was undoubtedly influenced by the competition from the Sprint-backed Clearwire, which has already started rolling out a 4G network based on WiMax technology.
InformationWeek has published a comparison between LTE and WiMax that may shed some light on this issue. Download the report here (registration required).