Vodafone is keeping its options open for future mobile broadband technology by joining the WiMAX Forum . This is the standards and specifications body promoting the wireless technology that could rival the next generation of mobile networks.

WiMAX offers long-range high-speed data connectivity for laptops and other mobile devices, over much larger distances than existing Wi-Fi technology. It's seen as a potential challenger to future broadband mobile technology.

Vodafone however, is still committed to 3G, and is involved in the LTE (Long Term Evolution) project to develop 3G standards for the future. It's taking a technology neutral approach to ensure it has the best technology options available in the future, Vodafone said.

"Our membership of the WiMAX Forum will complement our existing memberships of other key industry bodies such as the GSMA, 3GPP and the Next Generation Mobile Network initiative," commented Steve Pusey, global chief technology officer, Vodafone.

3GSM World Congress

"Vodafone remains technology-neutral as far as our future network options are concerned, and joining the WiMAX Forum is a logical step as we seek to evaluate the full capabilities and potential of this technology."

Earlier this year at the 3GSM World Congress , Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin warned the mobile industry that standardisation of new mobile technologies was taking too long. He said that other technologies - such as WiMAX - could take advantage of this.