In a move aimed at challenging the might of the Apple App Store Orange, O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone have
joined forces with a host of international network operators to build an open platform that will deliver applications across handset ranges.
Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), launched at the Mobile World Congress today, is an alliance of 24 international operators, the GMSA and and three handset manufacturers - LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
The alliance has pledged to support
the development and distribution of mobile and internet applications
irrespective of device or technology. Its members say they want to unite a fragmented
marketplace and create an open industry platform that benefits all parties,
including applications developers, network operators and consumers.
However analysts say the move is designed to challenge Apple's dominance in the apps marketplace.The Apple Apps store has around 130,000 third- party apps generating more than 3 billlion dowwnloads since 2008.
By joining forces, the alliance says it wants to
create a simple route to market for developers to deliver the latest apps and
services to the widest possible base of customers around the world. The twenty
four operators in the alliance have access to over three billion customers
around the world.
WAC also wants to unite members'
developer communities and create a single, harmonised point of entry to make it
easy for developers to join.
‘The GSMA is fully supportive of the Wholesale Applications Community, which will
build a new, open ecosystem to spur the creation of applications that can be
used regardless of device, operating system or operator,’ said Rob Conway, GSMA
CEO. ‘This approach is completely in line with the principles of the GSMA, and
in fact leverages the work we have already undertaken on open network APIs
(OneAPI). This is tremendously exciting news for our industry and will serve as a
catalyst for the development of a range of innovative cross-device, cross-operator
Jonathan Arber, senior research analyst at independent analyst house IDC, said:
‘Developers want to meet the largest possible addressable market, as
efficiently and painlessly as possible, and the Wholesale Applications
Community initiative can meet these criteria by providing a simple, single
point of access to a large number of operator storefronts. The initiative
should also help to drive uptake of existing, open standards among developers,
operators and manufacturers, thereby reducing fragmentation and benefiting the
The alliance plans to initially use both the JIL and OMTP BONDI requirements,
evolving these standards into a common standard within the next 12 months. It will
work with the W3C towards a common standard based on its converged solution to
allow developers to create applications that port across mobile device
platforms, and eventually between fixed and mobile devices.
The alliance will serve as one point of contact for the industry and is open to
all relevant parties – from telecommunications operators and device
manufacturers to internet service providers and application software
Developers are invited to
go to www.wholesaleappcommunity.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for further information.
Operators in the alliance are América Móvil, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche
Telekom, KT, mobilkom austria group, MTN Group, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Orascom
Telecom, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor Group,
TeliaSonera, SingTel, SK Telecom, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, VimpelCom, Vodafone
and Wind have all signed up to the alliance.