Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

(Reuters) – Twenty-four telecom operators have formed an alliance to build an open platform that will deliver applications to all mobile phone users in an effort to compete with Apple’s successful apps store.

The move is supported by three of the world’s largest device makers — LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson the telecoms industry body GSM Association said on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, MTN Group, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Orascom Telecom, Telefonica and Vodafone are among those who have agreed to the initiative, the GSMA said.

Together these operators have access to over three billion customers around the world, the GSMA said, adding the plan would help reduce fragmentation in the industry.

In a first step, "the alliance will seek to unite members’ developer communities and create a single, harmonized point of entry to make it easy for developers to join," the GSMA said.

(Reporting by Nicola Leske; Editing by Hans Peters)