Twenty-four mobile operators have united to form the Wholesale Applications Community, a new initiative designed to provide an open global platform and marketplace for mobile applications.
The group, which comprises AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Telefónica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, said that it will create an ecosystem for developments that are device and technology agnostic.
The operators have the backing of the GSM Association (GSMA), along with manufacturers LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, and claim some three billion consumers between them.
"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, chief executive of the GSMA.
"This approach is completely in line with the principles of the GSMA, and leverages the work we have already undertaken on open network APIs. This is tremendously exciting news for our industry and will catalyse the development of innovative cross-device, cross-operator applications."
The idea is to make it much easier and simpler for developers to reach the growing market for mobile applications, which has so far been dominated by the Apple App Store.
A common standard for these converged solutions has yet to be agreed, but the Wholesale Applications Community said that it would work with the World Wide Web Consortium on its development. It expects the standard to emerge within the next 12 months.
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