by Martin Brinkmann on December 03, 2019 in Firefox –
Mozilla continues to expand its products and services beyond the Firefox web browser. Firefox Private Network was launched as the first product of the revamped Test Pilot program that Mozilla put on ice earlier this year.
Mozilla launched it for Firefox users in the United States at the time and as a browser proxy only. The system works similarly to third-party VPN solutions for Firefox in that it protects user data and privacy by routing traffic through Private Network servers.
Firefox users needed to install the Firefox Private Network extension to make use of the provided browser-level protection.
Today, Mozilla Mozilla unveiled the next step in the process. Still only available for users from the United States, the organization launched a full Firefox-branded VPN service.
The VPN service is only available for Windows 10 at the time of writing and the $4.99 per month is an introductory offer. Mozilla promises to release versions for Android and iOS, Chromebook, Mac and Linux in the future.
Firefox Private Network customers who pay for the full protection get access to about 30 regions and may use the service on up to five devices.
The VPN service is provided by Mullvad behind the scenes and uses WireGuard, a new VPN protocol.
The underlying policy of Mullvad is that we never store any activity logs of any kind. We strongly believe in having a minimal data retention policy because we want you to remain anonymous.
Mullvad has a strict no logging policy and accounts use a number system that keeps track of the remaining hours of service only. The service supports several payment methods including traditional methods that may reveal information and systems that don’t reveal those information, e.g. cash transactions or Bitcoin.
The full-device VPN protects the entire device whereas the browser extension only Firefox activity. A free option is provided and even though Mozilla changed some of its options, is not very practicable to use.
The core reason is that one-hour passes are assigned to the free user and that those are limited to 12 currently (opposed to 4 three-hour passes previously). Means: even if you connect to the service for just a minute, you will waste one of the available hour passes.
The price of $4.99 is an introductory price that is available during the beta. Mozilla has not revealed the price that it will charger after the beta ends but it is very likely that it will charge more than $4.99 for a monthly subscription. Mullvad charges about $5.50 (€5 Euro) per month for one month of access to the service.
Most VPN services, e.g. NordVPN, offer discounts when customers subscribe for longer periods. Whether that is the case for Firefox Private Network accounts remains to be seen.
The $4.99 put Mozilla’s offering somewhere in the middle when it comes to price. There are cheaper VPN providers out there but also several that charge more than $5 per month.
Mozilla plans to run the beta in the United States “into early 2020” to expand the service to other regions “soon thereafter”. Interested users may join a waitlist to be notified when the service becomes available in their region.
Mozilla has an advantage over other VPN providers; the organization may integrate the service in one form or another in the Firefox web browser to advertise the paid version to users directly. Mozilla did not reveal whether it plans to do that but it could help the organization get away with slightly higher prices than competing offers.
Now You: What is your take on this development? Have you ever dealt with Mullvad?