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AT&T still wary of selling Firefox OS smartphones

by Todd Haselton | March 6, 2015

Firefox OS

Verizon will be one of the first U.S. carriers to sell phones powered by Mozilla’s Firefox operating system. The wireless carrier announced this week, during the Mobile World Congress 2015 show in Barcelona, its intentions to sell the phones on its network later this year. AT&T, meanwhile, told Fierce Wireless recently that it’s not quite ready to get its toes wet with the new operating system just yet.

“We’re not afraid of taking a chance and tasking a risk,” AT&T senior vice president of devices and developer services Jeff Bradley told Fierce Wireless. Bradley noted that AT&T is constantly evaluating new options for its customers, but that it’s still assessing Firefox and what the new operating system can offer.

The AT&T executive told Fierce Wireless that a lot of the carrier’s considerations come down to trying to find new services that aren’t offered by other operating systems, and the strength of the ecosystems that are offered by each OS. If an operating system doesn’t have a lot of developer support, for example, AT&T might reconsider offering phones powered by it until there are more compelling apps available. One example of a failed phone that AT&T tried to offer was the Amazon Fire device, so it may still be reeling from that device’s lack of success in the market.

Firefox OS is currently reserved for emerging smartphone markets, though the handsets powered by Mozilla’s operating system come at a low up-front cost. That could be compelling for U.S. customers looking for more affordable prepaid devices that don’t require a contract.

Fierce Wireless

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...