This could perhaps be one of the biggest, if not the biggest announcement that comes out of the Mobile World Congress. It’s big because twelve mobile operators have teamed up to form the world’s biggest, unified mobile apps market. Dubbed “Wholesale Applications Community“, this global alliance aims to establish a simple route to market for developers and give them access to customer base of over 3 billion users, forming an ecosystem based on openness and transparency for the benefit of everyone.
The Wholesale Applications Community already has the support of twelve mobile industry players who just signed a memorandum of understanding at the ongoing Mobile Web Congress. These companies include – 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, Telia Sonera, SingTel, SK Telecom, Spint, Verizon Wireless, VimpelCom, Vodafone and Wind, as well as Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson.
The alliance aims to benefit mobile phone users by providing broader choice of innovative mobile apps and services on a wider choice of mobile devices. For application developers, the alliance will provide an environment where they can flourish and create straight-forward apps. It will also provide developers with a gateway to market their apps. Additionally, the alliance will use existing technical standards such as APIs to make it easier for participants to develop useful mobile apps. This also means that developers will just need to create one version of their apps which can be used on multiple device including Android, Symbian and Others.
Interestingly, the iPhone was not mentioned. So, many are quick to react that the Wholesale Applications Community is being geared to challenge Apple’s Apps Store. Should Apple be afraid? What do you think?