Nokia is forging ahead with its plans for a 4G wireless system.

It has now signed up Sony Ericsson, NEC and Alacatel-Lucent, and the companies have formed a licensing framework for their 4G patents called Long Term Evolution (LTE).

LTE is claimed to be a faster system than 3G and capable of covering longer distances.

The first LTE networks will be available in the US and China; and it is expected to not only be used for mobile phone networking but also for laptops and possibly fixed broadband connections, as an alternative to Wi-Fi.

LTE is a direct competitor to Intel's WiMax wireless system, which already features on some mobile phones in the market.