Representatives from the world's telecomms standards authorities have agreed to marry their different developments for next generation mobile communications.
The resulting super-standards will enable consumers to use their mobile devices anywhere in the world without having to change equipment and will link them automatically to the right network.
Last week, executives from standards organisations in Europe, Japan, Korea and north America agreed global developments should support an "umbrella standard" or ensure they form a "family of systems". This would be under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
There are a number of programmes around the world working towards the mobile multimedia network, due next century. Europe will implement a network based on the Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service specification, set to be operational in 2002.
An ITU spokesperson said: "Under the third generaion system users will not only be able to roam among countries that currently use different technologies but will also be capable of seamlessly moving between multiple networks - fixed and mobile, cordless and cellular. As a result, product lifecycle for core network and transmission components should be longer and network operators should benefit from increased flexibility."
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