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Openness, Relevance and Cost Cited as Top Factors for the Success of Mobile App Stores

Airwide Study Reveals Application Relevancy, Consumer Education and Fragmentation to Be Potential Pitfalls for the Mobile App Store Model

BURLINGTON, MA and READING, UK -- (Marketwire) -- 04/23/09 -- Airwide Solutions, the leading provider of next-generation mobile messaging and mobile internet infrastructure, applications and solutions, today revealed the results of an independent survey into the rise of mobile applications and services which shows that despite consumer enthusiasm for mobile applications, operators could risk failure if they try to replicate the model pioneered by Apple. The study, which was conducted by the independent analyst house mobileSQUARED on behalf of Airwide Solutions, revealed overwhelming enthusiasm for the App Store concept with all operators questioned planning to keep a degree of control in their own app store environments. The survey demonstrated a split between those who expect to directly control less than 10 percent of the apps and services launched (45 percent), and those who plan to control 20-30 percent (36 percent). However, this dynamic could significantly increase the amount of fragmentation that application developers and publishers will need to address if they want to deploy services across multiple operators and on multiple handsets. Until real standards evolve operators need a consistent platform to be able to roll out enhanced applications and services.

In order to address the increasing need for a broad universe of mobile applications to work seamlessly across devices, platforms and networks, Airwide Solutions has launched its Open Services Framework. The rise of the app store model depends on robust and powerful messaging infrastructure, which can efficiently support multiple media types while remaining flexible enough to enable the rapid rollout of new services that use location, presence, subscriber profiles, the mobile Internet or any other of a range of operator assets to enhance their functionality. Airwide's Open Services Framework represents the latest phase of the evolution away from existing monolithic messaging infrastructure, and has been designed to enable operators to use network intelligence on messaging and browsing, location, user profiling, presence, security, micropayments and more to create and enhance high quality, relevant applications without disrupting existing infrastructure. It is designed to work across multiple networks and is open, powerful, intelligent and flexible, helping operators cut the amount of time necessary to roll out new and enhanced services by up to 75 percent. As a result operators can secure the appropriate share of untapped revenue opportunities, generate more interactive engagement with subscribers, and regain control of the subscriber.

The Open Services Framework does this through two modules that can be used together or independently:

--  The Service Innovation Module enables the rapid introduction of high-
    quality service enhancements by exposing value-adding operator assets and
    capabilities, independent from the delivery infrastructure and;
--  The Delivery Optimization Module enables high-reliability, low-
    latency, secure and handset- and network-optimized delivery of services.
    

Supporting Airwide's approach further, the survey also revealed that operators believe that relevancy -- or the lack thereof -- is the most important factor in creating a successful app store, with 55 percent ranking it the biggest factor in a successful download. By enhancing mobile applications with their unique assets, context and intelligence while minimizing cost and without disruption to the existing infrastructure, Airwide's Open Services Framework can help operators realize significant cost savings, jump-start additional revenue generation and play a more significant role in mobile data services.

Cost was also cited as a major factor by 18 percent of respondents, and a number of operators also said that effective marketing is also crucial for the success of the app store model. The marketing campaign by Apple, which focuses on how to discover and download applications to the iPhone, was seen as an example of how good marketing can overcome many of the education issues faced by operators when launching new services.

Clearly education is indeed an important factor which must be addressed as a separate survey of mobile subscribers conducted by mobileSQUARED also revealed a lack of widespread awareness for the app store concept. Only 24 percent of respondents knew what an app store was; however, when the benefits of an app store-like experience were explained, over 50 percent of respondents said they would want to have an app store accessible from their phone. The survey, which asked 1000 UK mobile subscribers their opinions on the app store concept, shows that there is clear demand from consumers for applications from operators beyond the current triumvirate of games, music and video. However, with less than 25 percent of UK subscribers currently owning a high-end handset or Smartphone, one of the major challenges faced by operators in the short term will be how they can deliver an app store experience to mass-market handsets.

Jay Seaton, CMO at Airwide Solutions, commented: "The study we conducted with mobileSQUARED highlights a clear demand from both operators and subscribers for a centralized content and services solution: one that will help operators quickly deliver relevant, high quality applications. We've designed our Open Services Framework with versatility, speed and quality in mind so operators can enhance virtually any application with contextual information and support and quickly roll out new mobile applications their subscribers demand without disruption to the underlying infrastructure."

Nick Lane, Head of Research at mobileSQUARED, added: "Content and services have been reinvigorated by the App Store. It is setting the precedent for the industry but the challenge now is how to extend that experience to the mass market. For mobile operators intent on driving ARPU, deploying an app store-like offering is the ideal solution to delivering content and services targeted at the broad mobile demographic. It is a strategy that guarantees the operator flexibility and timeliness to respond to changing market and consumer requirements and demands. A network-based solution using common APIs overcomes the pitfall of device and OS fragmentation and ensures that mobile operators will play a pivotal role in delivering app stores to the mass market."

A detailed whitepaper outlining the results of the research in more detail can be requested by emailing Gemma Yates at [email protected]

About Airwide Solutions

Airwide Solutions is the leading provider of next-generation mobile messaging and wireless internet infrastructure, applications and solutions. Its products have helped more than 140 wireless operators worldwide drive mobile messaging usage and revenues and enable them to leverage multiple delivery channels and next-generation infrastructure in new and more powerful ways. With a history of industry firsts -- including the first text message ever sent, the introduction of the first SMS router, the first A2P MMS push gateway and mobile service control which enables mobile context, personalization and profiling -- the company continues to pioneer new technologies. Airwide's open, tiered Fusion architecture offers mobile operators advanced revenue options, a practical pathway to Mobile Messaging 2.0 and a foundation to bridge mobile messaging and the mobile internet.

Airwide Solutions operates globally with offices in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, India, the Middle East and Africa. For more information about Airwide Solutions, please visit www.airwidesolutions.com.

Airwide is a registered trademark of Airwide Solutions. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

For further information please contact:

Brenda Suarez
Airwide Solutions
Email: Email Contact
Tel: 781-229-2406 ext. 2731

Gemma Yates
Mi liberty
Email: Email Contact
Tel: +44 (0) 207-751-4444

Kristin Conforti
PAN Communications
Email: Email Contact
Tel: 978-474-1900

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