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(Pocket-lint) - The upcoming arrival of the Mozilla Firefox mobile OS, also known as Boot to Gecko, has been given quite the backing, being described as better and cheaper than Android by the head of Telefonica O2 Europe.

At the Telefonica Digital conference in London, CEO Matthew Key was keen to redress an imbalance in the number of handsets in the smartphone market relying on Google’s mobile OS and issued a rallying cry for other networks to join O2 and its global partners to give the project some real scale. He said:

“The first handset cost is sub-$100 and will be launched before Q1 in Brazil. We can produce the same experience on Android cheaper, or a better experience at the same price.”

While there was nothing specific on when Firefox OS would be available for UK handsets, it was clear that Key was looking for these phones to be “universal throughout the system.”

From the user side, Telefonica pointed out the frustrations with Google Play fragmentation and the fact that it’s not always easy or possible to get the latest Android software updates, but whether there is any fear of Google’s potential monopoly or any other agenda on the business side was left unsaid.

For many analysts, the idea of a Firefox OS is something dead on arrival and Telefonica is also all too aware of just how difficult it is to kickstart a new platform.

“We don't underestimate the size of the task,” warned Key. “There have been many new OSes started and most have them have failed.”

Stay tuned in 2013 to find out how it fares.

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Writing by Dan Sung.