Highly mismatched semiconductor alloys such as GaNxAs1-x and GaBixAs1-x have several novel electronic properties, including a rapid reduction in energy gap with increasing x and also, for GaBiAs, a strong increase in spin-orbit-splitting energy with increasing Bi composition. We review here the electronic structure of such alloys and their consequences for ideal lasers. We then describe the substantial progress made in the demonstration of actual GaInNAs telecommunication (telecom) lasers. These have characteristics comparable to conventional InP-based devices. This includes a strong Auger contribution to the threshold current. We show, however, that the large spin-orbit-splitting energy in GaBiAs and GaBiNAs could lead to the suppression of the dominant Auger recombination loss mechanism, finally opening the route to efficient temperature-stable telecomm and longer wavelength lasers with significantly reduced power consumption.