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Firefox OS is coming to Africa. Mozilla, the organisation behind the eponymous mobile OS, as well as the browser that shares its name, hasn’t given a definite date for when it will launch on the continent, but it has announced that Airtel, MTN South Africa and Tigo (operated by Millicom) are the first three carriers working with Mozilla to soon bring first Firefox OS smartphones to Africa.
“We are proud to see that with Airtel, MTN South Africa and Tigo, Firefox OS gains additional support to soon extend the Firefox OS footstep into Africa”, says Rick Fant, Mozilla’s VP Planning and Ecosystem. “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.”
What makes Firefox OS different to other mobile operating systems, is that it is built entirely on open web standards, with every feature developed as an HTML5 application.
Now, between Android and iOS (along with Windows Phone if you’re feeling charitable), the mobile operating system space is pretty much wrapped up. Despite the likes of Ubuntu OS failing to launch though, Mozilla still seems to think that Firefox OS still stands a chance. And as we’ve previously reported, it’s betting big on emerging markets in its bid to disrupt the dominant players.
If it is to succeed in Africa, which contains a number of markets where data costs remain prohibitively high, then it’ll have to make deals with those carriers to ensure that some critical apps are free to use.
As things stand, Firefox OS has launched with local partners in 25 markets across Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia. With the upcoming move into the African region, Firefox OS will soon be available on five continents.