A group of 17 operators have committed to support Mozilla’s open web initiative, as the commercial launch of the first devices powered by its Firefox OS nears.
Previewing the first commercial build of its Firefox OS, Mozilla also revealed that LG will be among the first companies to ship handsets powered by the platform, alongside previously announced partners Alcatel One Touch and ZTE. Huawei will join the roster “later in the year”.
The first wave of devices will be available to customers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela. Additional markets will be announced soon.
Telefonica, which put its weight behind the Mozilla platform at GSMA Mobile World Congress last year, will be among the first operators to support Firefox OS, initially in Brazil, Colombia, Spain and Venezuela, but with the intention of making it available to “all Telefonica customers globally”.
Yotam Ben-Ami, director of Open Web Devices at Telefonica Digital, told Mobile World Live that the first tranche of markets will see handset launches in the summer, with the company defining a second set which will also see debuts before the end of the year.
While much of the focus of the platform at launch was on low-cost devices for emerging markets, he noted that one of the launch vendors will be offering a device that is targeting the mid-tier.
“We need to start working with the OEMs, defining the right product for the right market, and we still feel there is opportunity in the more evolved markets”, he said.
“I think many people were sceptical as to our ability to engage OEMs. The one thing that we are going to be making abundantly clear at Mobile World Congress is that OEMs are not going to be a problem with this,” he noted.
America Movil said that it is “committed to launch Firefox OS phones in Mexico and all possible markets during 2013”.
KDDI said that it will support the introduction of devices into Japan in “one or two years time”, noting that it is working with Mozilla “especially on network and security parts”.
Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, and Telenor announced support for Firefox OS in the middle of 2012.
Other companies backing the initiative are China Unicom, 3 Group, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, TMN and VimpelCom.
Telstra has also “welcomed” the initiative.