Video services

MWC 2010: Ericsson Opens App Store

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) threw itself head-first into the applications store mall today with the opening of its eStore, a hosted platform with more than 30,000 applications that carriers can use to offer those apps to their own customers.

Speaking at a press conference here in Barcelona, recently installed CEO Hans Vestberg ("I've been the CEO for 45 days and I still think it's very exciting," he quipped) noted that the store's applications, developed by third-party software players, can be used by any mobile device, regardless of make or operating system.

To develop the eStore, Ericsson has teamed with Opera Software ASA , which has provided the "client framework" for the hosting and management of the applications.

Vestberg stressed that the store is for service providers only -- Ericsson won't be offering the apps to end users itself -- and that the model is based on a three-way revenue share agreement among the carrier, the developer, and Ericsson, which will retain a "small piece" of each transaction, though he didn't provide any precise breakdown.

The move looks positive for carriers, which need all the help they can get with the development of new business strategies for the delivery of Web applications. (See Telcos' App Problem.)

The move thrusts Ericsson into an applications market with a model similar in nature to that of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), which has positioned itself as an intermediary between service providers and app developers with its Open API Service. (See AlcaLu Turns Apps Broker and AlcaLu Shows Off Its Apps Abs.)

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), meanwhile, is selling applications directly to end users, putting it into direct competition with its carrier customers. (See Nokia Offers Ovi Maps for Free, Nokia Teams Up for Chinese Apps Push, and Nokia Buys Social-Networking Startup.)

Enabling the creation, management, and delivery of new applications is becoming critical to service providers, which need new IT systems and support services from their suppliers to aid their service transformation strategies. (See The SPIT Manifesto, Analysts: SPIT Is Hot Stuff, and Putting SPIT in Focus.)

Ericsson today also announced an IPTV systems deal with Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA), a new multimedia device for controlling TV and other services around consumers' homes, and boasted of a 1-Gbit/s mobile broadband demonstration here in Barcelona, using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology enhanced by MIMO antenna and multi-carrier (aggregated radio channel) capabilities. (See Telekom Austria Goes for Ericsson IPTV and Ericsson Claims LTE Speed Record.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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