Before introducing the fonera promise system of growing the Fon movement, namely to go from a system based on cash in which foneros paid for their foneras to a system based on trust in which they don´t pay but commit to keep them on we were converting 1% of the unique visitors to our web sites to become foneros.

Yesterday in Germany and Austria we went from getting around 30 orders per day to getting 2931 in one day. Why? Because the news that the fonera was available in exchange for a simple commitment to leave it on for the benefits of another fonero and was not 5 euros anymore was published by many blogs and news sites but also because the conversion ratio was greatly altered. 8 out of every 100 Germans and Austrians who visited Fon in German made the Fonero promise. This was an 8 times improvement in conversions and already incredible for us. Now this morning at 10am Korean time we started the Fonera promise in Korea as well and much to my surprise the conversion rate of Koreans is so far, in the first few hours even greater than that of Germans and Austrians. The latest figures I have are that we got orderers for 864 foneras from 5733 unique visitors so far today. This means that around 15% of the people who simply hear about Fon and visit our web site become foneros and make the fonero promise. This is an enormous conversion ratio from first time visitors. Maybe this is because so far the news on Fon appeared in sites of people who LOVE connectivity like Open Wireless at Daum, this happened to us in Spain where when we promoted Fon with the fonero promise, inside two small but very focused communities, Meneame (a very successful digg like site in Spain) and Bandaancha (a community of bandwidth apps experts) and we got conversion rates of around 30% inside those communities active users and placed 1200 routers just among them. In any case these numbers are enormous when compared to the wifi hotspots provided by the local telcos and the rates at which they deploy. They clearly show that the people as a whole do better than a telco. In Germany T Mobile has 4500 hotspots for example. In Korea Nespot of KT has many more hotspots, they have 17,000, so far we only have 2363 activated routers but just today, a special day cause we made the fonero promise announcement yesterday, we will probably grow fonera orders by 50% in one day. In Germany we believe we will beat T Mobile by the end of the year, in Korea we believe we will beat KT in number of access points by March. Now beating is a relative concept because Fon also helps telco operators as we have seen that many people order broadband for the same time because at Fon you must pay a telco operator first, be a donor and only then you can roam the world for free. So as opposed to free wifi networks that lead to many shared connections Fon (because it charges low daily rates but high monthly rates to prevent leeching from neighbors) actually makes broadband operators sell more connections and decrease their churn rates (if you disconnect at home you can´t roam for free anymore). So Fon appears to be a win win, telco operators get more and more sticky customers, foneros get to roam their country and the world for free and makers of wifi only gagdets like PSP, DS, Mylo, N770, laptops, PDAs sell more wifi gadgets.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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