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.
It was April 2006 when Fon signed its first international agreement with a fantastic telco, Neuf Cegetel. At the time, that relationship gave Fon a huge qualitative and quantitative jump forward: on the one hand, it accelerated Fon’s growth like we never imagined, on the other hand, it proved we were a suitable partner for telcos, creating value for them and their customers.
Since then Fon has come a long way. We have built a global WiFi network and partnered with some of the leading telcos of the world. Neuf also changed. When SFR acquired Neuf, it became part of one of the largest integrated telcos in Europe. Fon WiFi continued to be a priority for SFR’s integrated fixed mobile strategy, and SFR customers could easily join Fon by activating it on their CPE.
Now, after many years of a fruitful partnership, SFR-Fon has further expanded its relationship. In order to enjoy the benefits of free access to Fon’s global WiFi network, all SFR broadband customers are now part of the Fon community. They get free and unlimited access to the global Fon network and in turn share a bit of unused WiFi with the Fon community.
With over 3M hotspots, the SFR WiFi Fon coverage in France is impressive. If you are a Fonero and happen to be on vacation in France, look for the “SFR WiFi Fon” signal – you will find it almost everywhere. (Note: We still need to update our maps to reflect all SFR-Fon Spots.)
In total, we now have almost 12M Fon hotspots around the world! Stay tuned for more to come!
I am pleased to announced that Fon has teamed up with the largest telecom operator in the Netherlands, KPN to bring WiFi to all the Dutch people in a similar way as we do in neighboring Belgium with Belgacom and in the UK with BT. Soon many Dutch customers of KPN will be able to roam in Fon’s 7.8 million hotspots around the world for free and Foneros (Fon members) will be able to do so in the Netherlands. Personally I can’t wait to go to Amsterdam, one of my favorite cities in the world and connect to Fon everywhere. For those currently in our network (including our telco partners’ subscribers at Belgacom in Belgium, BT in the UK, MTS in Russia, Oi in Brazil, Netia in Poland, SFR in France, SoftBank in Japan and ZON in Portugal), it will provide them with more WiFi access in the Netherlands, one of the most advanced economies in the world. I take the opportunity with this announcement to thank the early Foneros of the Netherlands who have been helping the Fon community grow since 2006 and to the teams at KPN and Fon who are working so hard to make this happen.
This is the first of several deals we will announce in 2013. Stay tuned.
Fon is off to a good start in 2012. Just after announcing 5 million hotspots, I am now happy to share that we have announced our first partnership this year. It is with Netia, one of Poland’s largest telcos. Together, we will create Poland’s largest WiFi community. Netia is Poland’s most innovative telco, and we couldn’t have chosen a better partner to help us spread the Fon vision in the country.
The goal is to have over 100,000 hotspots all around Poland available by spring. As always, the new hotspots together with all of Fon’s 5 million hotspots will be open to the Fon network and of course to Netia customers. It’s always good to see the Fon network open up to so many people at the same time. Poland is a big country, with almost 25 million internet users, and there is lots of potential there.
More and more, 2012 is looking like a great year for Fon. For sure, this is the first of many more partnerships to come this year.
Why is this important? Because while many have tried to build a large and global WiFi network, Fon has been the only company in the world to actually achieve this. No other network even comes close to us. Fon is everywhere, even in residential locations, where no other WiFi hotspots can be found. Brussels, Lisbon, London and Tokyo are completely covered with Fon WiFi.
We are growing so fast, that in 2011 alone we added two million new hotspots. This year, I predict that Fon will grow its number of hotspots by at least 50 percent, so there is lots of work ahead to make sure this happens.
I am proud of Fon and its large, global WiFi network. I started this company with a goal to create a truly global WiFi community, where everyone sharing a little bit of their connection gets free WiFi anywhere in the world in return.
Every day, I feel that we’re getting closer to this goal. The WiFi revolution continues.
Published in Techcrunch
Belgacom (powered by Fon) has created an awesome campaign to advertise its fonspots. A dog called Fifi whose innate talent is to smell wifi hotspots. In the middle of 2011, we announced the agreement between Fon and Belgacom and two months ago we reached 100.000 hotspots. Nowadays, we have 300.000,.
Here you can see the video. The story would be as follows: Jean has a dog called Fifi that barks when she finds a wifi hotspot, because of Fon and its agreement with Belgacom, this virtue has turned out to be his worst nightmare as she never stops barking.