When I started this company 9 years ago, I was motivated by a problem I encountered on a trip to Paris. I desperately needed to use WiFi, but I could not find any open WiFi signals. So, I started Fon with a mission – to cover the world with accessible WiFi.
Since then, Fon has grown from that idea to the world’s largest WiFi network. We have built that network together with leading telcos around the globe. Today, you can find dense Fon WiFi coverage in most countries in Europe, Brazil, and Japan – and we recently announced the extension of our footprint to Australia.
We have been preparing the Vodafone-Fon partnership for a long time, and today I can proudly say that Spain will soon be covered with dense Vodafone-Fon WiFi. We will also finally cover Italy, a country that I love and have had close ties to since my youth.
This achievement is extremely gratifying, as I have fulfilled a promise I made to many loyal Foneros and Fon supporters.
It is an honor to welcome Vodafone to our network of partners. Vodafone has been leading innovation in telecommunications for decades. Working together with Vodafone on their WiFi strategy is a big step forward for Fon and for WiFi overall. Together we will continue to explore ways to expand our footprint further and work on an optimal interaction of LTE and WiFi.
Vodafone customers can also be excited. People need to be constantly connected whether at home or on the go. With the increasing data consumption of mobile devices, and rapid growth of WiFi only devices, ubiquitous WiFi becomes the perfect complement for 3G/4G!
I would like to thank the Fon team for their hard work in making this happen. Over many years, people at Fon have worked tirelessly on implementations all over the world. Though our technology is “made in Spain”, employees had to go abroad to enjoy the fruits of their labor and see what it means to experience dense Fon WiFi coverage. That will change with extensive coverage at our doorstep.
Fon has almost 15 million WiFi hotspots globally. With Vodafone Italy and Spain, we will add more than 2 million hotspots before the end of the year. With this new partnership and the growth of our existing partnerships I am confident, that we will be able to reach 50M hotspots globally in few years.
Our mission remains. Vodafone-Fon takes us a huge step closer to blanketing the world with accessible WiFi.
Thanks for all of your support!
First my sincere apologies for the instruction manual that we have provided, we are improving it a great deal thanks to your feedback. In the meantime this is my simplest way to explain how to connect a Gramofon.
Then if you found this link after November 2014 don’t go on reading, the Gramofon installation will be simpler by then. This is only for the beta units of the Kickstarter backers.
Take Gramofon out of the box.
Decide where you want to place it, you must have electricity and a sound system nearby. Ethernet or cable Internet is optional but if you have it use it as speeds will be better. Think of an Apple TV, in a way the Gramofon is like an Apple TV for sound and it connects via cable or WiFi like an Apple TV and it turns any sound system into a cloud music player just like an Apple TV turns any TV into an Apple TV video player.
Plug to electrical outlet and to sound system via the audio cable
If you have ethernet (cable that gives Internet) plug to ethernet, if not no worries the Gramofon also works via WiFi receiving and extending your wifi signal. Now one warning here, the Gramofon will extend the signal of any router that is not made by Fon. It will not extend the WiFi signal of a Fonera for example. It’s an IP conflict problem and in this case to fix it you will have to be an advanced user.
Download the Fon Utility app, please make sure it is the Fon Utility app, yes I said Fon Utility app and I did not say Gramofon app, I also did not say Fon app. Fon has three apps but the one you need here is Fon Utility.
Connect to the WiFi signal Gramofonxxx with password that is written under the Gramofon, if you are over 40 get your reading glasses as font is small!
Open Fon Utility app and follow instructions in the app, the app is like an instruction manual, and it shows you how to personalize the Gramofon choose names, like GramofonBedroom or GramofonKitchen or whatever you want to name the Gramofon, the WiFi signal that comes out of the Gramofon and your favorite password. The app also takes you to Facebook so your friends do not need a password to play music and to use your WiFi because Facebook lets us know they are your friends. Last but not least the app via the registration process gives you a username and password to roam for free at 13.5 million hotspots around the world! So please go through this app from beginning to end. See how to do this by watching our instructional video here.
Once the Gramofon is configured and you are done with the Fon Utility app, close it
Open the Spotify app and choose your favorite song. Play it.
As the song starts playing in your phone, look for a gray circle and wait for it to turn green, a circle with a speaker sign on the bottom right of the screen, that will appear next to the song, click on the green circle and you will see the choice of playing the song either via your phone or via the Gramofon, click on Gramofon and enjoy your favorite song on your sound system. Here is another short video.
There is another way to play music, and that is the radio app Gramofon. For this:
Download the Gramofon app.
Provide the PIN that appears on the Gramofon itself as the app requests it. This PIN is on the side of the Gramofon together with the MAC.
Register with Facebook and start playing music with the Gramofon app. See how its done here.
At this point the Gramofon supports Spotify and Gramofon music provided by WahWah, in the future we will get more music services via All Play, click here to learn more about All Play.
And once again thank you thank you thank you Kickstarter backers, you are awesome.
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.