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February 15, 2010

Operators team up to build open mobile apps platform

Challenging times ahead for Apple App store

By CBR Staff Writer

Twenty-four telecommunications operators have formed an an alliance to build an open platform that delivers applications to all mobile phone users, a move which is expected to compete with the Apple App store.

The Wholesale Applications Community aims to unite the fragmented marketplace and create an open industry platform that benefits applications developers and network operators to mobile phone users. In the future, it plans to unite members’ developer communities and create a single point of entry to make it easy for developers to join.

Jonathan Arber, senior research analyst at IDC, said: Attracting and retaining developers is vital for any application store offering to succeed. However, mobile application developers currently face a high level of fragmentation in the industry, in terms of both technology platforms, and individual operators’ working practices.”

The alliance, which is supported by includes the support of GSMA, LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson plans to initially use both the JIL and OMTP BONDI requirements, evolving these standards into a common standard within the next 12 months. It aims to push the apps market to over 3 billion customers.

Members of the alliance include America Movil, 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.

Mr Arber, added: “The initiative should also help to drive uptake of existing, open standards among developers, operators and manufacturers, thereby reducing fragmentation and benefiting the whole industry.

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