Telecom Companies Unite at the Mobile World Congress

The Mobile World Congress opened this week in Barcelona. Telecom companies from around the world are unveiling their new ideas for the half-a-trillion dollar industry. More than two dozen Telecom companies announced plans to create a common site for mobile phone applications. It will be called the Wholesale Applications Community and its goal is to avoid fragmenting the apps market and to give developers one point of entry to all the members. The GSM Association announced on Monday that operators will now start working on uniting their existing developer communities, so developers will be able to go to one place to get their applications distributed instead of having to go through multiple application approval processes. The community will also start working on a common development standard that should be ready within the next 12 months. The standard will be independent of phone type and operating system, according to the members.

Now we all know who or what this is aimed at, Apple of course. Taking Apple on individually would indeed be daunting for each of the individual companies.  but it is not going to be easy for this community either. Reportedly, Apple app sales were responsible for 99% of the app market last year. The Apple app store has over 130,000 applications far surpassing any other phone operator. The service has gleaned over three billion downloads since 2008, with 70 per cent of the revenue going to the app seller and 30 per cent going to Apple. Apple controls all of its content so  it can make sure all of its apps are user friendly, something that will be difficult  for a such diverse group of companies who will have to agree on one open standard.

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