A group of mobile phone operators and handset vendors are developing a spec for a lower-cost standard 3G mobile phone to be available worldwide in 2008.

The platform, developed by NTT DoCoMo, Renesas Technology, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Sharp and Sony Ericsson will support HSDPA, and W-CDMA as well as GSM, GPRS and EDGE, and should cost lead to cheaper 3G phones by mid-2008, the group said.

The platform will also include a baseband processor, an application processor supporting multimedia, and a reference design for audio and power supply. The platform will potentially support multiple operating systems, with Symbian being the first.

It's third time around for some of the group, who previously collaborated on a W-CDMA and GSM/GPRS, design, followed by a second design with extra components, that is still in development.

With a standard platform to build on, the phone makers plan to distinguish themselves by adding unique features.