ZTE Corp of China has teamed up with online marketplace eBay to introduce a new smartphone device, based on Mozilla’s Firefox mobile operating system, to the Indian market.

eBay India is currently offering the phone, called the ZTE Open, under the category of ‘limited availability’, and at a price tag of Rs. 6,990. According to industry watchers, however, the limited availability of the handsets may be an instance of the companies merely testing the waters. ZTE and eBay have also narrowly beaten out Japanese electronics major Sony, which was reportedly planning on bringing a Firefox phone to the Indian market.

ZTE has been seeking partnerships over the last year to offer devices with the new operating system to reduce its reliance on Google Inc.’s Android, which dominates the smartphone market. Mozilla and ZTE could capture 1 per cent of the mobile market in 2013, according to a recent Strategy Analytics report.

“We are delighted to provide Indian consumers access to the ZTE Open, a popular smartphone which is a great option for first-time smart phone users. This was exclusively available on eBay in the U.S. and the U.K., and is now available in India,” said Alok Agarwal, Director – Marketing, eBay India, in an e-mailed response.

The ZTE Open is an example of exclusive selection, according to an eBay India spokesperson.While it is listed by an eBay seller, “all marketing material is provided by Mozilla and ZTE globally”.

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