Telef贸nica lands exclusive deal to bring chat app Line to Firefox OS in Europe and Latin America

Telef贸nica lands exclusive deal to bring chat app Line to Firefox OS in Europe and Latin America

Mobile operator Telef贸nica has announced a partnership with聽Line, the messaging service from Japan with over 300 million registered users. The deal is Line鈥檚 first with an overseas carrier and gives Telef贸nica聽exclusive access to the new Line for Firefox OS app, which is only available to聽the operator鈥檚 customers聽in聽Venezuela, Peru, Spain, Colombia, Uruguay, Brasil and Mexico.

In addition, Telef贸nica鈥檚 will pre-install Line on future Firefox OS handsets that it launches, it plans to make Line for Firefox OS available聽in more markets as it expands the availability of its phones to new countries.

Interestingly, the partnership also includes 鈥渟ignificant marketing campaigns鈥 by both companies in Latin America, which could be a big win for Line, since聽Telef贸nica has a customer of 320 million across 24 different markets.

Firefox OS is yet to make a dent on the global handset market but, with cheaper prices than high-end devices and an 鈥榦pen鈥 ecosystem, Telef贸nica聽is among a number of operators 鈥 including Telenor, Deutsche Telekom and TIM聽鈥 that hope it will be a hit in emerging markets, where users spend less on devices and carrier subsidization is not common.

The deal makes a lot of sense for Line, which has placed great emphasis on growth in Latin America. Last year, Line US CEO聽Jeanie Han told us that the company shifted its focus on building its presence in the US to Latin America due to organic growth it had seen in the region.

鈥淲e originally thought we鈥檇 move in on the US, but then Latin America grew faster than we thought, and the timing there was more critical,鈥 Han said.

Line isn鈥檛 alone in focusing on Latin America though. Rival聽WeChat, the chat app from China, recruited cult Argentine football star Lionel Messi to front its global campaign and boost its appeal in Latin America, while WhatsApp is also popular in that part of the world.

The deal with聽Telef贸nica is likely to boost Line鈥檚 visibility but the competition remains fierce and Firefox OS is a small part of the market 鈥 for now, at least. Now that it has its first international carrier deal in the bag, Line may well announce others, as it looks to replicate its success in Asia in other regions.

Image via聽DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

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