Today's Comment: Mozilla gains support for Firefox OS; C Spire taps Alcatel-Lucent for LTE; Windstream introduces business bundle.
- Mozilla has received the support of seven leading operators for the launch of its Firefox operating system, the first devices for which will be manufactured by TCL and ZTE.
- Carriers back the project as they look to increase smartphone penetration in emerging markets while reducing their handset subsidies spend.
Today we focus on three developments:
- Firefox Mobile OS: Mozilla has received the support of seven operators for its Firefox mobile operating system, which is fully open and based on HTML5. The seven are Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor. The first devices will be available in early 2013 on Telefónica's Brazilian subsidiary Vivo's network, and will be manufactured by TCL (under the Alcatel One Touch brand) and ZTE using Qualcomm processors.
- C Spire Wireless' LTE Contract with Alcatel-Lucent: C Spire Wireless has picked Alcatel-Lucent for the initial roll-out of its LTE network. The technology will first be available in 20 Mississippi markets from September 2012, covering 1.2 million citizens. The carrier will spend USD60 million on the initial phase, with Alcatel-Lucent providing base stations, IP mobile backhaul, wireless packet core and an IP IMS network core. Alcatel-Lucent already has LTE deals with AT&T, Sprint and Verizon in the US.
- Windstream's Business Bundle: Windstream has launched its "Professional Bundle", its latest offer for small and mid-sized businesses. The bundle includes internet access, unlimited phone service and many other services relating to security and backup for a flat monthly fee.
The Firefox operating system is based on Mozilla's "Boot to Gecko" project, which allows HTML5 applications to access the underlying capabilities and not just the native applications. Mozilla's plan is to deliver a platform for entry-level smartphones in developing markets, which the launch in Brazil indicates. The seven backers of the project all have subsidiaries in developing markets where smartphone penetration remains low, with the exception of Sprint, which must be looking to reduce its spending on handset subsidies as it heavily invests in its LTE network and the iPhone. In other markets where devices aren't usually subsidised, the operators will be looking to launch smartphones at a low-enough price point to attract users and hope to increase their own revenues through greater data attachment rates. The carriers are also looking to create more competition in the lower-priced smartphone market, currently dominated by Android, the same way they've been looking to push Windows Phone against Apple and Android in the more mature markets. Mozilla will hope to have more success than Microsoft has had thus far with its foray into the mobile space, but the uncertainty around Research In Motion does give the company an opportunity.
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