The GSM Association (GSMA) has combined with 24 network operators to build an open platform standard that enables application and software developers to write single programmes that work across all associated devices.
The new Wholesale Applications Community, a working title for the group, at launch comprises América Móvil, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT, Mobilkom Austria, MTN, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Orascom Telecom, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, TeliaSonera, SingTel, SK Telecom, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, VimpelCom, Vodafone and Wind.
Also, manufacturers LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have backed the initiative, along with the GSMA.
Combined, the 24 member operators serve three billion customers globally.
The GSMA said the Wholesale Applications Community wil unite a fragmented marketplace and create an open industry platform to benefit operators, vendors, developers and end-users. It intends to set up a “wholesale applications ecosystem” that from day one establishes a simple route to market for developers.
The alliance will look to unite members’ developer communities and create a single point of entry for developers.
GSMA chief Rob Conway said: “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.
“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.”
Jonathan Arber, senior research analyst at analyst house IDC, said: “Mobile application developers face a high level of fragmentation in the industry, in terms of both technology platforms and individual operators’ working practices.
“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 alliance plans to initially use both the JIL and OMTP BONDI requirements, and will set a common standard within 12 months.