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Mobile operator app initiative takes a (very small) step forward

06 мая 2010

GSMA's Wholesale Applications Community initiative received a lukewarm response when it was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February largely because the announcement - which came from main backer the GSMA - was somewhat vague on the details. And on Wednesday the industry body held a series of press briefings to reveal that... it will tell us more in July.

The telecoms industry is waiting to find out just how the Wholesale Applications Community, or WAC, plans to leverage its scale - a word that was used ad nauseum on Wednesday's conference call - to have an impact on the apps space. The message from the GSMA and the 24 operator members of WAC is that the initiative is designed to remove fragmentation from the applications marketplace and enable developers to make more money. The underlying message: operator applications stores are unlikely to come close to the impact Apple's App Store has had on the market and the telcos are keen to rectify that.

But how? Well, we won't know until July, when WAC will be officially formed as a company, the board of directors decided and the business models underpinning the initiative revealed.

In July WAC will "open for business as an organisation," Tim Raby, acting CEO of WAC told journalists on Wednesday. At the same time, the group will make technical details of their plan available. "It's not very far away," Raby reassured listeners.

The first documents will be available for developers from September and the body will hold its first developer event in November. The first services will arrive in February 2011, although Raby warned that these will just be early offerings designed to "prove the concept".

"We are very focused on making sure the business models actually work," he said, adding that working out a revenue-sharing model will be key. He indicated that this model will be favourable to the developer community.

"Wholesale Applications Community is going to be a non-profit-making organisation... That's a definite stake in the ground," Raby said. However, he noted that there will be costs associated with its existence and "[we are] going to have to cover that cost in some way."

The WAC concept draws its inspiration from the Internet, Raby explained; it uses the same technology as online widgets use today, but packaged up to run on a handset. The APIs will bring together existing initiatives in the space from groups such as the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) and BONDI from the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP).

WAC is not a standards body in its own right and therefore is not starting from scratch, Raby - also CEO of the OMTP explained. "There is also a degree of urgency in this," he said.

However, he declined to comment on reports that WAC will merge with the OMTP, an announcement that some expected to be made on Wednesday's call.

"Decisions haven't been made," insisted Michael O'Hara, CMO of the GSMA. Further announcements will come "in early July," he said.

Источник: Total Telecom

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