Telefónica makes ‘digital telco’ move through Firefox Hello OTT service

Telefónica told at MWC 2015 it is en route to transforming itself into a ‘digital telco’. As part of this strategy, the firm is working with Mozilla developing Firefox Hello, a browser-to-browser video communications service.

Oli White, Telefónica’s Director of Product Marketing, Future Comms, said the web real-time communications (webRTC) platform is proof of the operator’s transformation process and customer focus. “Consumer behaviour is changing and evolving, and as a telecommunications provider we are not able to do all the innovation by ourselves. We saw this great opportunity with Mozilla with the Firefox browser to develop a platform to bring video communications to lot more people.”

Firefox Hello allows users to have Skype-style video conversations but there is no need to sign up or login, which according to White gives the kind of privacy most consumers like. The service works with the user opening a session within the Firefox browser, and sending a link by email to whomsoever they wish to speak.

Apart from the fact that this is an OTT offer by an operator, White said Firefox Hello will also differentiate from similar services through the content sharing feature, currently in beta phase. The idea is to enable users to share screen content during a call, which Telefónica believes will really make the platform stand out.

The product is currently in continuous development, with Firefox releasing an update every six weeks and aiming to have the content sharing aspect finalised by the summer.

According to White it is vital for operators to adopt less time-consuming innovation cycles and become more agile and responsive to customers. He said while telcos traditionally haven’t been particularly good at turning things around quickly, they still have what OTT service providers and app developers rely on: the network. “They still need us too, and we like to call [them] OTT as in over-the-telco,” he said.

Whether or not, and exactly how, Firefox Hello will create future revenue is not yet clear. “We are not in a position to comment on the commercial side but we believe this represents tremendous value to consumers, and we want them to show us how this should develop. At this stage we are really focusing on getting the content sharing [feature] just right.”

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One comment

  1. Avatar gk998 03/03/2015 @ 11:09 am

    So, a bit like TeamViewer but without as many features…

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