The world’s largest mobile phone carriers say they’re joining forces to make it easier for software developers to write apps that will run on as many phones as possible.

The “Wholesale Applications Community” announced on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is an attempt to retake the initiative from phone makers like Apple and Nokia, which have applications stores of their own.

Google is also building a significant store for its Android software.

U.S. carriers Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA are part of the group, which includes twenty other major international carriers.