Monday, 20 November 2017

Orange, Mozilla bring affordable smartphone bundle to Africa

By Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom, in Barcelona
Sunday 01 March 15

$40 smartphone with bundled voice and data plan to launch in Q2; Firefox makes good on sub-$25 device promise and announces flip phone partnership with four telcos.

Orange has teamed up with Mozilla to bring an affordable smartphone bundled with voice and Internet access to its markets in the Middle East and Africa. The French mobile group will launch the Orange Klif in 13 markets in the region from the second quarter. For the equivalent of US$40 customers will get the smartphone and six months of voice…

Orange has teamed up with Mozilla to bring an affordable smartphone bundled with voice and Internet access to its markets in the Middle East and Africa.

The French mobile group will launch the Orange Klif in 13 markets in the region from the second quarter. For the equivalent of US$40 customers will get the smartphone and six months of voice, SMS and data usage up to 500 MB per month.

The Firefox OS-powered device is made by Alcatel OneTouch. It is a 3G phone.

"We have not decided to make any compromises," with the quality of the device, Yve Maitre, EVP of partnerships and connected objects at Orange, speaking at a press event in Barcelona on Sunday.

Nonetheless, "the price in all our countries will be below $40," he said. At present, most customers would pay that amount for a 2.5G feature phone, he explained. "It is something which will change the lives of hundreds of millions of people."

Bringing affordable smartphones to the masses is a key aim for Mozilla, which launched its Firefox OS two years ago.

Since then the OS has been made available in "dozens of markets," with various operator partners, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard said.

In February 2014 Mozilla announced its sub-$25 smartphone initiative, partnering with chip maker Spreadtrum to bring down the cost of devices.

"Last year we delivered on that promise," Beard said, pointing out that Firefox-based sub-$25 smartphones have launched in the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

In fact, it has brought out smartphones with a $22.50 price tag. "[That's] 10% over our goal," Beard joked.

Also on Sunday, Mozilla announced a new partnership with KDDI, LG U+, Telefonica and Verizon Wireless.

"Together we're collaborating to create a new category of smartphone," Mozilla president Li Gong said.

The firms are working on introducing new smartphone form factors, including flip phones and sliders, that will be intuitive and easy to use, Gong said.

"We'll see new devices of this type coming to market in 2016," he said.
 

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