Mobile phone firms form Open Apps platform

Twenty-four mobile phone firms are combining to build an open platform to deliver apps to handsets.

The initiative is a response to the phenomenal success of Apple's App Store for the iPhone.

Members of the Wholesale Applications Community alliance claim more than three billion customers between them. Together, they said they "have signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of building an environment or 'wholesale applications community’ where innovative applications can be developed irrespective of device or technology."

At the beginning of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, the Alliance announced it wants 'players' from across the ICT industry - operators and developers, handset manufacturers and internet players - to join forces to create an initiative based on openness and transparency.

The GSMA is supporting the initiative. Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA said: "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 full list of conspiritors is: América Móvil, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT, Mobilkom Austria, 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.

"Ultimately, we will collectively work with the W3C for a common standard based on our converged solution to truly ensure developers can create applications that port across mobile device platforms, and in the future between fixed and mobile devices," they proclaim.