Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group Updates

A few weeks ago we announced the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group (CAG). The CAG is designed to provide a place where carriers can help influence the development and requirements of Ubuntu for smartphones.

The founding members of the CAG were Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Korea Telecom, Telecom Italia, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, SK Telecom and the leading Spanish international carrier.

I just wanted to follow up with a few CAG-related updates.

New Carriers

Firstly, we are pleased to announce two new carriers that have joined the CAG.

Last week we announced PT Smartfren Telecom, the largest mobile internet provider in Indonesia, an important market for the Ubuntu smartphone.

Richard Tan, Deputy CEO at Smartfren, commented:

“Ubuntu is an important option for Indonesia because it offers an attractive, flexible and differentiating solution for smartphones”.

Today we followed up with another carrier in the form of China Unicom; one of the world’s largest mobile operators, with nearly 300 million mobile subscribers.

Li Xingxin at China Unicom’s terminal research and support center commented:

“Ubuntu can be an exciting new platform for the Chinese market, offering a brand new user experience that balances user simplicity with operator requirements”.

We are delighted to welcome both PT Smartfren Telecom and China Unicom to the CAG! We also have some other carriers to announce, including a large US carrier; more details on that soon.

Differentiation and Scopes

When it comes to mobile devices, there’s a thin line between differentiation and fragmentation. Differentiation is enabling phone manufacturers and carriers to put their own stamp not just on the outside of the phone but also on the inside. To stand out against the competition in today’s market, manufacturers and carriers must go beyond the phone hardware itself and provide value-added services such as music and video content to the user.

Victor Palau, VP, Phone & Hyperscale Delivery at Canonical wrote an excellent piece on this topic called Differentiation Without Fragmentation and talks about the areas in which Ubuntu Phone can be given a unique brand and identity via theming, default applications and content, pre-defined launcher applications, and connecting backend content to default Ubuntu front-end applications.

A core method of differentiating is at the content level with music, video, applications, services, and other material. This is where our powerful scopes technology comes in, providing a way of delivering content to users, front and center, with a consistent experience…all while avoiding fragmentation.

For those of you who are interested in writing a scope to expose content and services to Ubuntu devices, see an overview of the technology, our tutorial for writing a scope, our growing cookbook with common scopes-related questions.

  • NickS

    Hello Jono, I am slightly interrogative at the role the Ubuntu CAG is going to play in Ubuntu. Carriers do not have a particularly good track with users – they are those enforcing adware/crapware/antifeatures on Android Phones, and rarely providing upgrades.

    With platform convergence, I’m concerned I might get the same things that make me regret my Android phone (aka Operator requirements), on my PC – with Ubuntu.

    Carriers will also be in a pristine position to push specific drivers to Ubuntu, and with the latest debates there is reason to be weary of potential closed-source drivers (coming from chinese carriers…)

    To cut the story short: although I like the convergence idea, I’m concerned Ubuntu might be bringing the bad from the mobile to the Desktop, instead of the freedom of the Desktop to the mobile.

    Do you have a few words to cheer me up? Or should I be concerned about having a laptop with the “Deutsche Telekom Music Hub” app and no way to remove it?


  • Mthwate

    While I can’t tell you Ubuntu won’t get loaded with junk I can tell you it will be possible to remove them. Similar to removing unwanted apps by having root access on an android smartphone. I would imagine you would have access to sudo by default. Thats the beauty of linux!