Nine Chinese operators and telecommunication equipment makers have formed an alliance to jointly develop mobile multimedia applications and standards, according to the official China Daily newspaper.

Eight companies and one government research centre have joined the new group, called Mobile Multimedia Technology Alliance (MMTA), China Daily said. The MMTA members are China Network Communications Group Corp., China Mobile Communications Corp., China United Telecommunications Corp. (China Unicom), China Telecommunications Corp., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., ZTE Corp., Putian Corp., Vimicro Corp. and the Ministry of Information Industry’s China Academy of Telecommunication Research.

The alliance is billed as a means of improving cooperation between Chinese companies on the development of new technologies and to ensure that Chinese companies are competitive when the country begins to roll out 3G (third-generation) mobile services, the report said.

China has not issued a schedule for when 3G licenses will be issued to operators. However, the licenses are generally expected to be issued some time next year.

Looking ahead, the MMTA expects to expand its membership to include software developers and Internet content providers, the report said.