Firefox mobile OS draws significant operator backing

The chief executives of Telecom Italia, Telenor, Telefónica, America Movil and Deutsche Telekom were all on hand at a Mozilla press conference on Sunday evening in Barcelona to voice their enthusiasm for the Firefox browser developer’s new HTML5-based smartphone OS.

Speakers at the event made a number of pointed references to the dominance of Apple and Google, without actually naming them, as they promised that Firefox would restore operator influence to the mobile data services value chain.

Franco Bernabé said that operators will “benefit from more control over the ecosystem while Cesar Alierta of Telefónica said that the new OS would “change the prevailing value chain”.

The strongest words came from Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs who warned that “the internet should not be controlled by any one or two companies,” and that, “we shouldn’t have one or two companies that approve every bit of content [on smartphones].” Kovacs added that Mozilla wants to “level the playing field”.

Mozilla’s Jay Sullivan said that the firm wants to enable a broad range of application stores for the new OS, including those owned and billed by operators.

Alcatel One Touch, ZTE, Huawei and LG are onboard as device vendors for the new OS, with ZTE likely to be the first to bring a device to market. The emphasis will be on low-cost devices, with America Movil CEO Marco Quatorze suggesting they will be “a really good alternative for customers that don’t have smartphones today.”

Telefónica will begin selling devices running the new OS in Latin America and Spain in the summer this year, while Telenor will offer then in its Central European markets sometime in the second half of the year. Deutsche Telekom will launch in Poland in the summer.

DT CEO Rene Obermann seemed keen to downplay the operator-focus of the new OS somewhat, saying: “This is not about us, it’s about Mozilla”.

One comment

  1. Avatar Eduardo Ligeiro 25/02/2013 @ 7:05 pm

    The question is … Why did mozilla take that long to “understand” or launch its OS for mobile phones, given that any child knows that a high mkt share on it means improving sales and strategic+consistent growth ?

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