South Korea’s three leading mobile operators met on Friday with 150 mobile app developers to discuss setting up a joint app store called the One Store, which is scheduled to open in May.
The three currently have their own app stores – Olleh Market (KT), T-Store (SK Telecom) and U+Store (LG Uplus).
The three also plan to launch a joint website for app developers ― the Joint Developers Centre ― in April and run a joint customer centre, the Korea Herald reported.
The report quoted a KT representative as saying: “The One Store and online developers’ centre will save the trouble of making applications for each app store operated by mobile carriers.”
An analyst speculated that an integrated app store would be able to gain some ground against Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store, which account for the majority of downloads in the Korean market.
Operator initiatives to establish their own app stores and app-developer communities have not had much success.
Back in 2012, Vodafone Group led a cross-operator app store effort supported by AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Verizon Wireless and Telefonica, which never really got off the ground.
Ovum analyst Guillermo Escofet said four years ago that the days of content-led operator mobile portals were numbered since in developed markets operator app stores have been completely overshadowed by Apple and Google.
Analysys Mason identified 30 operator-run application stores in Asia, the Middle East and Africa at the end of 2012 and only a handful of those had been successful.
A number of operators as China Mobile, Maxis (Malaysia), Orange (Tunisia), SingTel and STC (Saudi Arabia) have launched initiatives in the form of app-development contests and mentorship to engage the local developer community. However, this strategy has not helped lure many developers from worldwide application stores.