T-Mobile has one of the largest WiFi networks in the world, but with AT&T getting the Starbucks deal, growing your network and keeping your dominant position in the market will be a tough and very expensive task. Each new WiFi hotspot means installations, payments to land based carriers and other costs that you are very well familiar with.

This is why I present you the opportunity of partnering with FON, the company I’ve founded and in which Google, eBay, British Telecom and other great partners have invested. If T-Mobile has the largest WiFi network, FON has the largest WiFi community in the world, with more then 200.000 FON access points around 8 times more than T Mobile. What makes Fon different? That Fon is built by the community member or Fonero. Foneros are nice people who like to share WiFi among themselves. But Fon also has a revenue model for our carrier partners and that is to share revenues from non Foneros who are the vast majority of the people in the planet. BTFon is a great case in point.

With FON users share their broadband connection via WiFi in a secure way, a valuable proposition for users, who share to roam the world for free, but also for ISPs as FON helps them gain new customers (pay at home and get free global roaming) and reduce churn, giving users more reasons not to give up their fixed lines even when they are mostly on the road.

You’ll see how partnering with FON makes a lot of sense in light of your HotSpot@Home strategy, providing your customers with more opportunities to save on their plans, while letting you leverage the cost and performance advantages of IP and broadband using WiFi in locations outside of the customer’s home, especially considering the increasing popularity of unlimited talk and data packages. Your customers could seamlessly connect to FONspots and call or surf the web with their T-Mobile phones. In this way you will gain an advantage for your T-Mobile GSM customers that your competitors don´t have. What I’m talking about is a chance to expand your network at a very low cost, giving your users free access to FON access points and helping with distribution of our routers (La Fonera) that will instantly work as T-Mobile hotspots once connected.

Should this proposal appeal to you pls write to me at martin@fon.es and we will talk some more.

Today a new kind of venture capital firm was launched, called Prototype Invest. It’s an early stage investor that doesn’t provide money in exchange for equity, like usual venture capitalists. Prototype supplies technology and guidance in exchange for equity. The company was founded by Michael Christensen and can count on a very experienced team.

People with a good idea but no programming or design skills will access a network of developers and designers that will help them create prototypes or full products. Entrepreneurs won’t have to pay anything for the service, but will give equity in their start up in exchange for it.

On their website they state “think of us as a Venture Capital firm providing software, web applications and guidance, instead of money”. This is really clever, as too many great ideas and brilliant entrepreneurs get stuck, unable to get capital from venture capitalists because they lack the competences and resources to make their ideas into proper products or prototypes, that make it much easier to get financing from a VC.

More then a new kind of VC, Prototype’s activity is complementary to traditional venture capital, as will help people with the best ideas building prototypes, pitching investors and finally raise capital.

Together with BT we created BTFon and we develop campaigns like this with Peter Crouch. In this video you can see the FON team doing the Mexican Wave… with a style of its own.


What’s important with this is the great number of foneros we got thanks to BTFon. Unfortunately I can’t share how many of them, because BT prefers announcing the numbers later on, anyway what is clear is that BTFon has a great image and is attracting a lot of people.

Yes, I know, this not only happens in Spain, but as the following chart shows in order for somebody to take 1250 euros in cash home per month companies have to spend almost twice as much, 2,446.92.

In other countries in Europe this is also true, but not on such a low pay scale. What´s unusual about Spain is the enormous amount of taxes that the Spanish government collects from people who only take home 1250 euros per month. And after they are home with the cash they have to pay VAT when they purchase goods or services and many other indirect taxes. So even on a person who takes home a real net of around 1100 euros per month, his real earnings are 2,446.92 per month for an effective tax rate of 55%. What is interesting is that employees who take home a real net pay of 5000 euros per month, 10,000 euros per month and 15,000 euros per month also take home around half of what the company pays them. But the take is slightly less in percentage which makes socialist Spain quite regressive. The solution in my view is of course to lower taxes on the low income brackets and have the Spanish government be more effective in rendering its services.


Thanks to Seesmic, the start up founded by my friend Loic Le Meur and in which I’m an investor, you can now leave video comments to my posts in my Spanish and English blogs. Loic was one of the first to leave one!

Leaving a video comment is very easy, you just need a webcam, click on the “Or add a Video Comment with Seesmic” link below the comment’s text box, login or subscribe to Seesmic (if you’re not already) and record your video comment.

While getting comments might get a bit more complicated in video, as I often read them from my mobile, I’m sure I will appreciate seeing the face of the people who comment on my blogs. As a blogger, reading anonymous comments is like chatting in a room without light… video turns the light on.

I just read that WWII killed 60 million people and cost less than 1 trillion 1944 dollars. This amount, that translates to 5 trillion of today´s dollars, compares poorly to the current Middle East War involving Iraq and Afghanistan costing USA already around 3 trillion 2008 dollars, but with casualties of less than 200,000 on the “enemy” side (hard to know who the enemy is though) and only 4520 on the American side.

This is what Joseph Stieglitz has to say about this.

These costs (of the current war) are projected to be almost ten times the cost of the first Gulf War, almost a third more than the cost of the Vietnam War, and twice that of the First World War. The only war in our history which cost more was the Second World War, when 16.3 million U.S. troops fought in a campaign lasting four years, at a total cost (in 2007 dollars, after adjusting for inflation) of about $5 trillion (that’s $5 million million, or £2.5 million million). With virtually the entire armed forces committed to fighting the Germans and Japanese, the cost per troop (in today’s dollars) was less than $100,000 in 2007 dollars. By contrast, the Iraq war is costing upward of $400,000 per troop.

Now considering that Joseph Stieglitz is a Nobel Prize Economist, I am not surprised that he focused his analysis on cost. But all of us can agree that it is actually positive that wars are getting to be, in comparison, so expensive “per death”. This, and not moral or religion, may turn out to be the best deterrent policy for avoiding future armed conflict.

It is sad to think that peace may be achieved by parties being unable to afford war but then….so be it. It is a similar situation to a US finally getting to have clean air thanks to very, very expensive oil or global recession. Who knows, maybe God does exist… and he is one stingy banker.

Think about cars! Think about how much pollution we could save the world if we started sharing cars in a systematic and organized way. This is what start ups like PickupPal or Zimride (makers of the Carpool app on Facebook) are trying to do on the Web. These are great ideas, trying to make carpooling really effective by solving some of the key issues behind it: trust (people fear sharing cars with strangers) and critical mass (you need a good number of trips in your system before users might consider carpooling a reliable alternative for their transportation needs).

Using Facebook is a good idea: millions of users, a chance to know more about drivers and discover personal connections that might give users enough reasons to trust each other and share a car. There are other carpooling websites, less Web 2.0, like GishiGo, eRideShare, CarpoolWorld, CarpoolConnect, iCarpool and SharetheRide, and they all contribute reducing CO2 emissions, while helping users save money. Find the one that best suits your needs… and share!

ipodfonera.pngFON Japan and Seven Seas Techworks, a company that develops interactive web services and content delivery platforms, are collaborating to provide an educational solution called “Student Pass for iPod touch” to universities in Japan.

Students will get an iPod Touch to access content and services like their class schedule, study materials, attendance management system. They will also be able to watch videos of the classes they missed, study the materials they received and look for job offers on their iPod touch. FON will take part in this project by providing Foneras to the students who will set the them up at home and use WiFi to receive contents and services from their university.

Starting from June, as part of a first trial, “Student Pass for iPod touch” and “La Fonera” will be distributed to students attending Yamanashi University.


Here the first coverage from Japanese media:

I know that most people who read my blog are not Jewish and that makes sense since us Jews we are only one person in 500 in this planet. Still I want to wish all my Jewish readers a Happy Passover.

I know it´s hard to believe that a country could be at war and not know who his enemy is but this is the case with US in the Iraqi war. In this video I comment an article in the New York Times that details how presidential candidate McCain is confused about this crucial issue.

You can also watch this video in Youtube.

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