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Operators unite for universal mobile apps project

MWC: Open industry platform is expected to benefit everybody from developers to mobile phone users

Operators unite for universal mobile apps project
In a move that's eyeing Apple's pie, the new alliance aims to unite a 'fragmented' marketplace for a subscriber base of over 3 billion.

Operators and a few mobile manufacturers have partnered to create an open platform that will deliver applications to all mobile phone users in the world.

The launch of the Wholesale Applications Community, announced by the GSM Association earlier today at the Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona, is the first step in uniting ‘a fragmented marketplace and create an open industry platform that benefits everybody'.

The operators that have signed on to the alliance so far 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.

LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson are also members of the alliance, which could pose a serious threat to the popularity of Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod as well as Nokia's growing Ovi marketplace.

The 25 operators in the Wholesale Applications Community alone have access to more than three billion customers globally, while Apple announced in January this year that the same number of applications have been downloaded from their App Store so far.

"The GSMA is fully supportive 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, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA. "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 to catalyse the development of a range of innovative cross-device, cross-operator applications."

The Wholesale Applications Community is open to all telecommunications operators, device manufacturers, ISPs and application software developers. The alliance will soon seek to unite members' developer communities and create a single point of entry to make it easy for developers to join and create.

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