Want more choice in operating systems for mobile phones and like Firefox as your web browser?

You will have that choice in the near future.

Mozilla, the non-profit foundation behind the popular Firefox Web browser, is getting into phones. But it’s not stopping at Web browsers – it’s launching an entire phone operating system.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based foundation said Sunday that phones running Firefox OS will appear this summer, starting in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.

The Firefox OS will land in a crowded environment, where many small operating systems are trying to become the “third eco-system,” alongside Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Together, those two account for 91 percent of smartphone sales, according to research firm IDC.

Mozilla Foundation has an ally in phone companies, who are interested in seeing an alternative to Apple and Google, particularly one coming from a non-profit foundation. Eighteen phone companies around the world have committed to supporting Firefox phones, Mozilla said. They include Sprint Nextel in the U.S., Telecom Italia, America Movil of Mexico and Deutsche Telekom of Germany. DT is the parent of T-Mobile USA, but plans to sell Firefox phones first in Poland. Sprint didn’t say when it would release a Firefox phone in the U.S.

ZTE Corp. and TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd.’s Alcatel One Touch brand are among manufacturers that have indicated that they’re planning to introduce phones.

“Operators will benefit from a higher control of the mobile ecosystem,” Franco Bernabe, chief executive officer of Telecom Italia SpA, one of the 18 carriers, said at a press conference in Barcelona today.

Telefonica, Spain’s biggest phone company, expects to sell Firefox phones in all 24 markets where it operates by 2014, CEO Cesar Alierta said at the event. Deutsche Telekom plans to introduce the operating system in Poland this summer before expanding distribution to other eastern European markets, CEO Rene Obermann said.

“By the end of 2013, we’ll be on the map,” Eich said in an interview before the event. “In 2014 we’ll be growing. We are just going as fast as we can to gain share.”

Market gains will probably come from Android and more basic feature phones, Eich said. Devices will also be available from America Movil SAB, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., KDDI Corp., VimpelCom Ltd. and other wireless operators, he said.

The Firefox smartphones will have access to Mozilla’s mobile application store later this year. Developers will be able to create apps using a common Web-programming language called HTML5, letting them save time and money, Eich said.

Many developers and consumers are already familiar with Firefox, a desktop Internet browser that has a 20 percent market share behind Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer, according to Net Applications.

“They have a lot of familiarity, they are a known entity,” Will Stofega, program director at IDC, said in an interview.Firefox phones coming this summer