MTN South Africa and two other big African operators, Airtel and Tigo, intend launching phones running Mozilla’s open-source, Linux-based Firefox OS platform, it has emerged. Firefox OS is meant as a rival to platforms such as Android, Windows Phone and iOS and is fully based on open standards and built around the Web using HTML5 as its underpinnings. Every feature on Firefox OS is developed as an HTML5 application.
Spain’s Telefónica launched the first Firefox OS-based smartphone, the ZTE Open, in mid-2013. Since then, phones running the software have been launched in 25 markets worldwide. Many operators are keen on the platform as it takes away the power of so-called “over the top” operating system providers such as Microsoft and Google, which provide a range of value-added services, including free voice calls over the Internet, through their smartphone platforms
. Now MTN South Africa, Tigo (owned by Millicom) and Airtel (owned by Bharti Airtel) are working with Mozilla to soon bring the first Firefox OS smartphones to Africa. There’s no word yet on which phones the operators intend offering their customers or how they will be customised for their markets. “The continued growth of Firefox OS holds great promise for enabling millions more people to access the mobile Web at an affordable cost, while helping to remove control points in today’s closed mobile ecosystems,” said Mozilla vice-president for planning and ecosystems Rick Fant in a statement. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media