An alliance between Vodafone, Verizon and China Mobile could provide sufficient stimulus to drive the adoption of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard on a global basis.

That’s the expectation of Vodafone’s chief executive, Vittorio Colao, who has suggested that closer ties between the three companies could be forged.

He said the three operators could create an "unbeatable" alliance that would allow them to drive adoption of the LTE standard on a global basis, according to the Financial Times.

It would also allow them to focus on Internet services and provide them with added bargaining power in the purchase of handsets and other mobile equipment.

"If you think of three players, China Mobile is very strong in China… Vodafone is very strong in Europe, Africa, India. Verizon is very strong in the US," he said.

"If these three companies could work more closely… in the management of customers, procurement and service creation, we could be unbeatable, quite frankly."

The LTE standard is oriented around upgrading UMTS to a so-called fourth generation mobile communications technology – essentially a wireless broadband Internet system with voice and other services built on top.

The aim is to improve spectral efficiency, lower costs, improve services, make use of new spectrum and refarmed spectrum opportunities, and better integration with other open standards.

Vodafone owns a 3.2 per cent stake in China Mobile, China’s largest mobile operator, and a 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless, now the largest mobile operator in the US.

All three companies have previously pledged their support for LTE.

China Mobile announced at last year’s GSMA Mobile World Congress that it is to join Vodafone and Verizon in trialing LTE, using a version of LTE known as TD-LTE.

This is an evolution of China’s homegrown 3G standard, TD-SCDMA.

Verizon Wireless is planning to launch LTE services before the end of this year, potentially making it the world’s first mobile operator to go live with the new standard.

However, a four-month delay in the switchover to digital TV in the US – which was confirmed yesterday by the US Senate – could now jeopardise this timeframe.

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