They’ve barely begun tackling the much-vaunted 3G (third-generation) of wireless technology, but leading companies in the industry are already laying the groundwork for what some are calling 4G. Researchers want to contribute their ideas to the development of an as-yet undefined “wireless world” that could become operational by around 2010.

Four European mobile equipment makers, Alcatel SA, L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. Ltd., Nokia Corp., and Siemens AG, founding members of the new Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF), are jointly hosting its kick-off meeting here this week. The goal of the new body will be to “secure momentum, strategic orientation, and impact for the research on wireless communications beyond 3G,” said Martin Haardt, director of international projects and university cooperation at Siemens’ Mobile Infrastructure division.

Research strategists from each of the companies presented here their visions of that future world to a roomful of scientists and executives from across the industry and academia.

“I do not like this term 4G,” said Walter Konh