Telefónica confirms launch plans for Firefox OS

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New operating system will be available in Brazil, Columbia, Spain and Venezuala this year and in Europe in 2014,

Telefonica has partnered with handset manufacturers Alcatel One Touch, LG and ZTE for the first stage roll out of the Firefox operating system.

At a press conference in Barcelona today (February 24) O2’s parent company said the operating system, made by Mozilla will be available in Brazil, Colombia, Spain and Venezuela during mid- 2013.

The second phase will see it available in Latin America before the end of the year and into Europe during 2013.

Telefonica described the OS as a “clean, intuitive, personalized and easy-to-use smartphone experience” providing an alternative to the the likes of Android, Windows and iOS.

It added, that consumers will have a choice of competitively priced devices, backed by its “richest data tariffs”, enabling customers to have a compelling and affordable internet experience.

The operator is also in discussions with Huawei and other manufacturers to see how Firefox OS can be extended into even more devices.

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Telefonica said customers will benefit from everything they need from a smartphone out of the box, plus many added features including built-in cost controls, Facebook and Twitter integration, location-based services, the much-loved Firefox Web browser and a revolutionary new search capability.

This delivers a deep and contextual search that allows customers to search both within apps and on the web at the same time. For example, search for a music artist and get results to buy songs, concert tickets or even listen to them instantly without the need to install any apps.

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Telefonica chairman and CEO César Alierta said:  “2013 marks the start of a new phase in our industry, one that will be characterized by open standards. For Telefónica and the telco sector as a whole, Firefox OS is a hugely important strategic initiative to change the prevailing value chain in the digital world.

“It is a major step to bring balance back to the telco sector, an initiative with strong cross-industry support. I am very pleased that our customers in Brazil, Colombia, Spain and Venezuela will be amongst the first in the world to experience Firefox OS and I look forward to making it available to all Telefónica customers globally.”

Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs added: “Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to the mobile environment, removing the unnecessary restrictions of proprietary ecosystems. Telefónica has shared this vision from the very start of the Firefox OS project. They have been instrumental in making Firefox OS a reality and we look forward to bringing a new and exciting smartphone experience to their customers globally.”

Telefónica was joined  by 17 other mobile operators in supporting Firefox OS. This includes, América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telenor, Telstra, TMN and VimpelCom.

It said the breadth of support demonstrates the cross-industry desire for a new, more open mobile ecosystem.

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