This December 15th, Fon will launch the Peek in Europe under the brand PeekFON. The Peek is an efficient email gadget whose unique feature is that it will have no roaming charges in any European country.
I will personally do the announcement tomorrow at LeWeb and be at the Speakers Lounge to answer questions for bloggers and journalists at noon. Please follow me @martinvars on Twitter to see if there are any changes in time and location. Please write to me @martinvars or at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule interviews.
The PeekFON will be 99 euros to buy, a reasonable price especially considering that the price includes both the gadget and 6 months of all-you-can-eat email service anywhere in Europe. No roaming charges. No contract.
After that we will charge 12,90 euros per month for the service but, as opposed to other email machines out there, there is no cancellation penalty of any kind if the user does not want to continue with the service.
This is a complementary service to Fon WiFi but it is not a WiFi product. It is a GPRS product. The idea is that with Fon you share a little wifi at home and roam for free. The PeekFON addresses those moments in which you can’t find WiFi in spite of Fon´s over 800,000 hotspots now available in Europe. With the PeekFON you get the most important piece of messaging, your email, anytime.
Browsing, Twitter, and other functionalities will be added within months. For now, buyers have to think of the PeekFON as an email machine with a full keyboard.
Why is Fon launching the PeekFON?
Because in Europe, we pay huge roaming charges when we leave our own countries. As a German you can come to France and easily pay in a day what the Peek will cost in a month.
Because many people still prefer a phone that looks like a phone for phone calls and sms, and an email machine for email, and don’t mind carrying two devices that do their jobs well.
Because even if you never leave your country Blackberry services, iPhone and Android services in Europe cost around 50 euros a month and have minimum 2 year stays and include no talking minutes. So in Europe, even if you stay at home, you spend 1200 euros to get email and if you travel around Europe, you spend double that on the average. This would compare with 312 euros with PeekFON vs 2400 euros if you roam, and 1200 euros if you don’t. So there are enormous savings for getting email.
Having said all this, Fon recognizes that, “apples to apples,” a Blackberry, an iPhone or an Android is a better product than a Peek. If you have the extra money to sign 1200 euros contracts and spend a few thousand more for roaming, the Peek can’t compete with the complete iPhone, Blackberry or Android experience. But as a pure and simple email machine, the Peek can compete. And its price is reasonable.
We also recommend Americans (and Asians and other non-Europeans) coming to Europe to get a PeekFON as roaming charges by US operators are a killer over here. So much so that the iPhone for example comes with a feature to disable roaming.
The PeekFON will be available at Fon.com December 15th. It will be available for shipping to all European countries for which shipping is now provided for the Fonera. If we see demand from USA and Asia we will also have it available at our US and Asian shops to be activated when landing anywhere in Europe.
GPRS service for the PeekFON will be provided by the new pan-European MVNO for gadgets Spotnik. Fon will be Spotnik’s first customer.
PeekFon in the press:
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars
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