18 Sep 2015

Getting the next billion connected - Interview of John Bernard, Mozilla


John Bernard has been leading the global marketing team at Mozilla since 2012.
This year he is joining AfricaCom to be part of a keynote panel discussion on targeting underserved communities.
He shares his views on the market ahead of the event.

 


AfricaCom: What is Firefox’s position in Africa’s market?
John Bernard: We have a strategy for Firefox OS targeting emerging markets and delivering a smartphone experience for consumers buying their first smartphone under $100. Africa, with the number of new connections every year and the huge appetite for accessing the Web represents a number of strategic markets for Mozilla.

A: What do you think will be this year’s most game-changing development in Africa’s telecoms?
JB: An Operator or company who can help solve the issue of providing a network to the most remote parts of Africa will be something for attendees to sit up and take notice of. This is a growing area of connecting communities within the region.

A: How can telecom and digital brands create more value for African consumers?
JB: Firefox OS offers a customised and easy to use experience appropriate to consumers at the entry-level smartphone segment, as has been seen with the demand of the KLIF device launched this year with Orange. Firefox OS leverages the power of the Web, to scale the user experience and, as an open source project, any individual or organisation can extend and adapt the platform. Orange put the mobile internet within reach of millions more people, otherwise not previously addressed, with the launch of the KLIF with a new breakthrough digital offer across its significant African footprint.

A: How can operators support innovation within their organisations and in the wider ecosystem?
JB: We announced this year partnering with Orange, to bring Firefox OS to Africa and the Middle East as part of a new digital offer. This was achieved in collaboration with ALCATEL ONETOUCH expanding mobile internet access with the 3.5-inch Orange KLIF Smartphone, launched in 13 African countries to date. Here, Orange are seen to support innovation by providing an affordable, easy-to-use first-time smartphone experience with the ability to surf the web, use email, and communicate within the continent.
The Orange Klif digital offer started from under US$40, inclusive of data, voice and text bundle and sets a new benchmark in price that acted as a major catalyst for smartphone and data adoption across the region.


A: In your opinion what are the most interesting debates to expect at AfricaCom this year?
JB: As mentioned, solving the issue of providing a network to the most remote parts of Africa will be an interesting topic, what role IoT plays and finally who will be the big content winner: local apps or the big-named global content providers.

Top sessions John recommends at AfricaCom 2015:

-       Innovation Leadership Panel: How to support a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in digital Africa? (day 1 keynote)
-       Transforming operators’ models to succeed in the digital economy (day 2 keynote)
-       Targeting underserved communities: strategies to deliver digital communications across Africa  (day 3 keynote)

For more information on the Vision for Africa keynotes check the AfricaCom programme here.