Verizon joins Ubuntu carrier advisory group

The Ubuntu carrier group is designed to let mobile operators shape Ubuntu's mobile strategy

Verizon Wireless became the first U.S. carrier to join the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group, but it is not clear whether it will eventually promote phones running the open-source Ubuntu OS on its network.

Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu project, announced in June the formation of a Carrier Advisory Group that would shape Ubuntu for the mobile industry. Other members of the CAG include Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Korea Telecom, Telecom Italia, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, Smartfren, China Unicom and SK Telecom.

Being able to work closely with Verizon gives Canonical an opportunity to shape Ubuntu into "the most compelling new, alternative platform for mobile," Canonical said Thursday.

CAG members get to launch Ubuntu devices before non-members in local markets. The first two launch partners will be selected from within the group, with the next following six months later. Non-members will have a substantial wait to gain access to the platform, Canonical said.

Verizon Wireless is joining the carrier advisory group "to participate in technology discussions around this new platform, which has the ability to bring new and exciting features to developers and ultimately, customers," Samir Vaidya from the Device Technology team at Verizon Wireless was quoted as saying in a statement by Canonical.

Verizon did not immediately comment.

Ubuntu, Tizen and Firefox OS are three of a number of operating systems that are targeting the mobile phone market which is currently dominated by Android and iOS.

Tizen is an alternative backed by Samsung Electronics and Intel, while Mozilla claims over 20 operators and hardware makers support the Firefox OS. Deutsche Telekom said Thursday T-Mobile Poland would roll out the Alcatel One Touch Fire smartphone running the Firefox OS, with online sales beginning Friday, as the first leg of an European launch of the device. Telefonica announced earlier this month the world's first commercial launch of a smartphone running the OS.

The Ubuntu operating system is expected to be available on phones during the fourth quarter of this year or in early 2014, Canonical said in February.

The CAG will close to new members at the end of this month.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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