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Telstra eyes Firefox OS and Ubuntu

Telstra has said that it is looking beyond iOS, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry to Firefox and Ubuntu for future phones.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Telstra is working closely with Mozilla and the Canonical Carrier Advisory Group for Ubuntu to examine potential new operating systems for its mobile devices.

The Australian telecommunications giant, which boasts more than 14.4 million active mobile subscribers on its network, revealed to ZDNet today that the company had been looking at emerging technology and mobile operating systems, with a keen focus on FireFox OS and Ubuntu.

"In recent months, we have been working with the industry to evaluate new mobile operating systems currently being developed. This ensures that we stay at the forefront of new technology developments, and continue to provide our customers with the best of what the market has to offer," David Powell, Telstra's general manager Device Experience said in a blog post that will be published on Telstra's Exchange blog later this afternoon.

"Two technologies we have been looking at most recently are FireFox OS and Ubuntu. While there are no specific plans regarding devices yet, engaging closely with industry ensures we are at the forefront of any future developments."

Telstra, along with US telco giant Verizon, recently joined the Canonical Carrier Advisory Group, which gives the company access to confidential briefings on the development of Ubuntu's Linux-based mobile operating system. Telstra is so far the only Australian telco to sign up to the carrier advisory group.

The regular briefings allow telcos from across the globe to discuss with Canonical how their needs differ, the developer ecosystem and portability from Android and BlackBerry, app marketplaces, revenue models, and payment mechanisms.

Canonical is currently aiming to have Ubuntu on smartphones by 2014.

In February, Telstra was one of the carriers mentioned in Mozilla's announcement of Firefox OS at Mobile World Congress, but at the time, the company said it was still evaluating Firefox OS. Although stock of two Firefox OS phones have begun to ship, and Telstra is supportive of the platform, there has not yet been any announcement of plans to stock Firefox OS phones.

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