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.
As demand for WiFi continues to grow, we are continuing to grow our network with the help of our community and partners, in fact, we’re having conversations with telcos all around the world.
Other than giving customers the benefit of being part of the world’s largest WiFi community, there are important benefits for telcos when they partner with Fon. The main one is offloading significant mobile traffic through WiFi. This is becoming increasingly important as the number of internet enabled devices is driving an important (and growing) portion of internet traffic. This is why at Fon we are proud of having the largest WiFi network in the world, with over 4.5 million hotspots. With the help of partners like Belgacom, we can grow even more, helping people stay connected regardless of their location.
Today we’re officially launching our partnership with Oi, the largest telco in Brazil and the second largest telco in Latin America. This means that as of today, Fon has entered the Latin American market. With Fon you share a little WiFi at home and you roam the world for free connecting to other community members. Fon grows its membership directly by people buying Fon wifi routers known as Foneras at our shop or by becoming ADSL/Cable/Fiber customers of our telecom partners who deliver their routers with Fon inside.
After our partnership announcement with Belgacom in June, this continues to be a successful year for Fon in terms of partnerships, and it is only the beginning of many more partnerships to come that will soon be announced.
Despite the fact that we just launched today, we already have over 100 active Fon Oi hotspots in key locations in Rio de Janeiro’s popular districts, Ipanema and Leblon (which you can find on our hotspot map), giving Brazilians and visitors a flavor of what Oi-Fon will be as it is deployed all over Brazil.
Brazil, and especially Rio, is a great place to start. Just this month I came across this article saying that Brazilians are the world’s most intensive mobile internet users. And smartphone sales are also growing quickly. In addition to that, the millions of tourists visiting Rio each year will find our Oi-Fon hotspot network very useful to stay connected while avoiding to pay high roaming costs. This will come in especially handy in the future, with Brazil hosting important events like the FIFA World Cup in 2014 or the 2016 Summer Olympics. And maybe even the Pope will connect to our network when he visits Rio in 2013
Our global footprint is increasing at a faster pace every day. We hit our 4 millionth hotspot in May of this year, and now we already have more than 4.5 million hotspots worldwide. And Brazil is only the first step we are taking to spread our hotspot network over many more Latin American countries. We hope to have more news about partnerships in Latin America soon, a region very dear to my heart as I was born in Argentina and as many Argentines spent many of my childhood vacations in Brazil.
This was surprising, I was speaking at a conference in Zurich and somebody from the audience came up with this video of Mark Zuckerberg and I in 2008. That was superkind of this person, to shoot this video I mean. You can see how Mark Zuckerberg was going around the world promoting Facebook, this was the Spanish launch at it took place at a theatre I owned in Madrid called Teatro Lara. The video starts in Spanish and I speak, then switches to English and Mark speaks.