WAC is Back

The Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), which was unveiled at this year’s GSMA Mobile World Congress with the goal of creating an open, international applications platform, has set out its planned key milestones for the year ahead.

It says it will officially unveil its business model and management, as well as its technical strategy, at the beginning of July. Its first set of documentation for developers will be published in September, and its first developer event will be held in November. It will launch its first services at next year’s Mobile World Congress in February.

On a media and analyst call today, representatives from the initiative stressed that no decision has been made on which specific technology platform will be used, or where the headquarters of the initiative will be based. There was also no confirmation of rumours that Research In Motion and Sharp had joined the group.

Today’s call came almost three months after 24 of the world’s largest mobile operators, as well as vendors LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, pledged their support to the alliance, which aims to create a wholesale platform for mobile apps that provides a single point-of-entry for developers. The move is seen as the operator community’s challenge to the mobile application stores currently offered by the likes of Apple, which are typically linked to a specific device platform. Of the 24 operators involved in the initiative, specific mention was given today to AT&T, NTT Docomo, Orange, SoftBank, T-Mobile, Telefonica and Vodafone, who were described as “leading” the initiative.

Tim Raby, acting CEO of WAC and managing director of OMTP, talked about the problem that had been created by “islands of apps”, and noted that the WAC’ open strategy, will potentially enable developers to write and submit once and sell and deploy everywhere.

During the call, Dave Gannon, VP strategic industry relations at Deutsche Telekom, refuted claims that a bunch of telcos were not best placed to co-operate and make quick decisions. “When we announced it, there was a lot of concern that operators couldn’t work well together,” admitted Gannon, but added: “People ignored the fact that operators work well under the GSMA and also OMTP Bondi. We have a common goal of removing the barriers. Yes there are obstacles to overcome but if you have a common goal you can work together… If you can scratch away the politics then the engineers are very happy to work together on architectural solutions, and it’s about bonding the JIL solution and the BONDI solution we already have. Every day we are working towards it we are breaking down the barriers.”