Wave Goodbye to WAC

The operator-backed Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) has sold off its technology assets and what's left of the initiative has been folded in to the GSM Association (GSMA) .

The alliance that had more than 60 mobile operator, handset vendor and software developer members was formed in February 2010 with the ambitious goal of creating an open platform for developing and distributing mobile and Internet apps for any device or network. (See MWC 2010: Operators Form WAC Pack for Apps Push and Mobile Operators Strike Back on Apps .)

Now, mobile application programming interface (API) vendor Apigee Corp. has acquired WAC's technology assets. These include a payment API that allows customers to pay for digital goods on their operator bills, as well as WAC's mobile app platform, called Web Run Time, that lets developers build apps that can run on all devices and networks.

According to Apigee, the WAC payment API has already been deployed by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), KT Corp. , LG Telecom , SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), Smart Communications Inc. , Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) and Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN), and it is in development with 12 other operators.

The WAC's Web Run Time has been enabled on 12 million devices and deployed by KT, LG, SK Telecom and Smart Communications.

In a separate announcement, the GSMA said that it will take over WAC's programs and initiatives while Apigee will offer WAC's network APIs and mobile app platforms as managed services to the GSMA and its operator members.

The GSMA said it will continue the development work on network APIs as well as a new app development platform that will be called Web Apps and will include support for HTML5.

Why this matters
While the WAC alliance had lofty and commendable goals, it appears to have been a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth -- the alliance started back in 2010 with no less than 24 operators. The effort has shown just how difficult it is to get so many operators working together. And the recent emergence of a new operator effort to establish a global mobile app store -- led by AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) -- was also an indication that WAC was not working as quickly as operators had planned or hoped.

For more

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:27:50 PM
re: Wave Goodbye to WAC

I wonder if the more surprising part of this news is that WAC was still going at all.

I talked briefly to the GSMA's CTO Alex Sinclair about today's announcements and he explained that WAC was set up as an experiment. He said it has done a lot of pioneering work but it hasn't reached scale yet. 

So, the GSMA is looking to do just that by taking this development to its bigger operator membership.

In the meantime, the GSMA will need to work to keep developers on board and attract new ones. There are about 30,000 WAC apps.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:27:48 PM
re: Wave Goodbye to WAC

Yeah, not surprising at all...and I like that they can just call it an experiment now that it's failed. I think the WAC failed to show any value outside of the billing API. But, Apigee is a pretty innovative company, so I'll be interested to see what they do with it.

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:27:46 PM
re: Wave Goodbye to WAC

As referenced in the last graf of the story:


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