Two dozen of the world’s largest mobile-phone companies, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, NTT DoCoMo, Deutsche Telekom, China Mobile and Vodafone, are teaming up to create an “open international applications platform.” “mocoNews” ( sys this is “obviously in direct response to Apple’s success with its own Apple App Store.

The announcement was made this morning at Mobile World Congress. In addition to the 24 carriers, the GSMA and three device manufacturers — LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson — are also supporting the initiative. All combined, the group reaches three billion subscribers worldwide, making it the largest app-store initiative, according to “mocoNews.”

Called the the “Wholesale Applications Community,” the group plans to create a wholesale platform for mobile apps that provides a single point-of-entry for developers. The group intends on using common open standards that will allow developers to create apps across multiple platforms. Those standards include JIL, which Verizon, Vodafone and China Mobile have been working on, and OMTP BONDI.