As you probably know, we have now begun shipping the Gramofon. After the amazing support we received when it was introduced on Kickstarter, we are now delivering the first units. Gramofon, as it is today, is a product for residential users who want to become Fon members, a product that improves their home WiFi coverage and of course, allows them to listen to their favorite online music on their existing stereo.
Today the good news are that in parallel we have also been working on a new flavor of Fon WiFi, that we are launching in Beta: WiFi for Business. It is a solution for small and medium businesses, whose owners want to give WiFi to their guests in the best possible way. We want to get rid of places that say “Free WiFi here” and then, when you want to get access, you need to ask for a complicated password written down somewhere on a piece of paper. And that is if you’re lucky! If you’re unlucky, they might not even remember the password. And others may just leave their personal WiFi signal open, putting their security at risk.
With WiFi for Business every store can offer WiFi in a professional and secure way. It’s a fully customizable solution in which the owner of the place can easily design the look and feel of the guests’ WiFi experience and decide how many minutes or hours guests are allowed to surf for free. They can also publish special offers on their WiFi landing page or gain followers advertising their Facebook page. All in the merchant’s hands!
Guests can easily log in with Facebook or with a Fon account, allowing merchants to understand visitor demographics and compare between different locations. Of course this information is shared only with explicit consent from the user.
WiFi for Business is tailor-made for every business: bars, restaurants, dental offices, hairdressers, car repair shops, offices… every place where people come and wait!
Starting today in Beta, WiFi for Business is available through the new Fonera for Business. This router can be purchased at our shop at a special launch price. Soon, our telco partners will also distribute the solution to their business subscribers the same way Fon is rolled out to residential subscribers: embedded into their existing WiFi routers.
I expect that the “age of WiFi passwords on a piece of paper” is coming to an end, and I think that our WiFi for Business will be a big part of this trend.
(Photo: The Guardian)
There are now 250,000 hotspots all over the country, and we expect to reach one million by the end of the year.
This is wonderful news! Now Fon members will have free WiFi access when traveling the Netherlands, and KPN customers have access to over 13 million WiFi hotspots around the world.
KPN is the largest telecom in the country and we are so pleased to have them as our partner in our endeavor to blanket the world in WiFi. Thanks to everyone involved and can’t wait to connect to KPN WiFi with Fon on my next trip to the Netherlands!
Now it’s Romania where we have begun a new partnership. Romtelecom, part of Telekom group and the leading telco in the country, will be working with us to create the largest WiFi network in Romania.
It’s great to see Europe being covered more and more with Fon WiFi. And there are more partnerships in the pipeline, both in and outside of Europe, that we’ll announce very soon. Thanks to them we expect to expand our presence even further and reach 35 million hotspots by 2016!
We’re happy to announce today that we’ve just signed an agreement with KT, the leading South Korean telco!
Starting today, Fon members who visit the country will gain free access to KT’s WiFi network throughout South Korea. In return, select KT customers will also get free access to our 13-million hotspot network!
This is our first step in a joint plan to extend our WiFi network in Korea, one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world. Ultimately our goal is to expand the partnership to the entire KT customer base and provide the best WiFi experience in South Korea.
This adds to our already extensive Fon WiFi network in South Korea, making it the country with the second best Fon coverage in Asia after Japan.
We are very excited about this new agreement and we can’t wait to continue bringing Asia access to the largest WiFi network in the world!
I am thrilled to announce that Fon is launching in Australia!
Telstra has joined forces with Fon to become our new telco partner in the country. Our plan: to create the largest WiFi network in Australia. The company is spending more than 100M AUD on their WiFi strategy and Fon is key to this plan.
This partnership means that Fon’s current 13 million global hotspot network will be increased by an estimated two million Australian hotspots over the next five years. Fon members who visit Australia from overseas will be able to connect for free wherever there are hotspots available! Also, Telstra home broadband customers with a compatible modem will be able to join the Fon community and access WiFi in a number of top cities around the world.
Our ultimate goal at Fon is to build and expand our WiFi network, which is the largest in the world. How it works: Fon makes it possible to broadcast two powerful, dedicated WiFi signals from a broadband Internet source. One signal is encrypted and private. The other signal is public but only accessible via password to other registered Fon members. Since private traffic is prioritized, home users don’t notice a lower speed in their connection.
After our recent success with Gramofon on Kickstarter, we are so happy to continue spreading good news. Thanks to and everyone involved in making this partnership happen!
We did it!
Gramofon reached it’s goal on Kickstarter and the product will officially become a reality very soon! Thank you so much to all those who contributed to make this possible.
There is still one day until the campaign ends, meaning you still have time to reserve a Gramofon unit with a significant discount. For only 39€/$50 including shipping, you can have one for yourself!
The response so far has been amazing. Both our backers and the press have spoken highly of the project and in doing so, helped us reach our goal! Here’s a sample:
- “A cut-price alternative to connected hi-fis from companies like Sonos” – The Guardian
- “Apple TV for your sound system.” – TechCrunch
- “The adorably-named Gramofon competes with audio and media streamers from the likes of Sonos and Roku” – CNET
- “Streaming music through your home entertainment system should be simple, but..it’s a mess. Gramofon wants to solve that.” – The Verge
- “Because Fon has plenty of experience in building routers, you friends can use the Gramofon to get WiFi too, without needing your password.” –The Next Web
- “It uses Wi-Fi as a kind of authenticator for social music consumption.” –Giga Om
- “Music lovers will go nuts for the Gramofon (…) Set-up literally takes less than five minutes, and it works flawlessly” – Business Insider
And our experience with Kickstarter was fantastic. Not only is Kickstarter an incredibly inexpensive way to make a new product succeed, it is also an incredibly inexpensive way to fail with a product. Before Kickstarter, it would have cost us around $3M to figure this out and possibly fail. Instead, the verdict is in and we’re happy to see that people love it!
On a final note, I would like to give a huge thanks to the Fon team who made this project possible and to Amol Sarva who has been tremendous help with the Gramofon all along. It’s been a pleasure working on this with you!
I am very happy to announce that Gramofon just went live on Kickstarter!
Gramofon is a new gadget category that blends WiFi and music. It has all the functionality of a Fonera but also works with Spotify to deliver the easiest way to play your cloud music from your existing sound system. On top of that it is social, so up to 20 people can connect via Facebook, and DJ simultaneously. Additionally, it works amazingly with other Gramofon units.
I decided to build this device about a year and a half ago because I found that there was no offering that allowed me to play cloud music in the way that I listen to music – socially and in my living room. I tried everything and wasn’t satisfied with the solutions that were out there because they either made me buy an expensive new system, were expensive solutions to a simple problem, or were poor solutions and hacks.
We put together a prototype early last year in New York and Fon Labs has been working on the product out of Bilbao ever since. We worked with Bone and Black on the design and now have a beautiful device that is finally ready to be revealed to the world!
We wanted to first get it to the kind of people that supported Fon to begin with: the early adopters, the people who believe in the power of new technology. For this reason, we decided to launch on Kickstarter – a crowdsourced network of backers.
So please take a look at the page. I hope you love the Gramofon as much as I do!
I am thrilled to announce that Fon has partnered with the South African telco MWEB, the leading internet service provider in the country! This is our first African partnership and our first step towards blanketing Africa with WiFi. We couldn’t be more excited.
MWEB ADSL customers with a Fon-enabled router will be able to become Fon members for free — in exchange for sharing their unused WiFi, they will get free access to our network of 12.4 million hotspots!
The rest of the Fon community will benefit as well: we are expecting more than 30,000 hotspots across South Africa by the end of 2014!
After our success in Europe, Asia and America, we are happy to finally set foot in a new continent, and into a country that is quickly adopting mobile technology, especially WiFi.
What’s more, this new relationship with Qualcomm won’t just be fundraising-based. They’re actually helping us with the development of a brand new Fon router.
Also, Fon will be integrated in Qualcomm Atheros’ chipsets, which means that more devices and systems will be automatically equipped to be part of Fon’s global WiFi network.
Lots of plans for 2014 after 2013, a year in which Fon grew 50% and hit the milestone of 12 million WiFi hotspots.
I am pleased to announce a new strategic deal with AT&T. Fon has been growing in leaps and bounds this year, and we are excited to finally expand into the US market.
Fon was born in 2006, and blanketing the world, and particularly the US, with Fon WiFi has always been our goal. We found our winning model collaborating with telcos but while we signed deals with operators all over the world, we had difficulties in the US. However much has changed and it seems that the time is right to take on our long standing challenge: on the one hand Fon is now a worldwide WiFi leader, with a proven business model, partnerships with major telcos and the largest WiFi network in the world with almost 12 million hotspots. On the other hand, the US definitely needs WiFi now more than ever: more than 60% of adults in the country own a smartphone and 25% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices.
The partnership with AT&T will allow roaming between our respective WiFi networks, meaning that AT&T customers who download the WiFi International App will initially be able to connect to hundreds of thousands of our FonSpots overseas and Fon members will gain access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi network, including more than 30,000 hotspots at restaurants, hotels, bookstores and retailers throughout the States.
This is only the first step in our mission to cover the US with WiFi. We’re sure there will be more exciting developments in a near future.