peekThis 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 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 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:

TechCrunch again
Washington Post

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No Comments

Freddie on December 10, 2009  · 

Pray explain why it is so much more expensive that in the US, where the classic version costs 20 USD (about 13 euros)!?
A very good idea, nonetheless.

Martin Varsavsky on December 10, 2009  · 

the 99 euros includes 6 months of service AND the gadget AND pan European roaming, have you gone from one European country to another one getting mobile email?

David on December 10, 2009  · 

I’m confused… I still don’t see why FON would spend time on PeekFon. It seems to have zero to do with FON otherwise. Though, I suppose this isn’t that different from other FON ideas, some of which have already spun-off into other start-ups. The question is, is FON gearing up for growth or is it getting ready with plan “B”s for when things go badly. It is hard to tell.

Martin Varsavsky on December 10, 2009  · 

Read this article David. It’s called a Profitable Fon is more Fun. It will help you understand my thinking.

Roberto on December 10, 2009  · 

Is the Peek Pronto or the Peek Classic you are offering?

And yes, I would not have announced this as a FON product – since they do not match well 😉

Martin Varsavsky on December 10, 2009  · 

Roberto in this post I asked my readers if they would buy a PeekFon and found an incredible level of interest among them. Foneros want roaming. The PeekFon is the first email machine without roaming charges.

Juan Miguel Venturello on December 10, 2009  · 

Great Martin, wonderful you are bringing this to Europe. Question – does this include Switzerland?

Live here but do business all over, very interested in device if it supports Switzerland. Thanks and best of luck with tgus venture!

gst on December 10, 2009  · 

“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 lets see: I paid around 300 Euros for an unlocked Android phone that I can use with any mobile provider – I think some of the Android phones are already cheaper by now.

And then I pay 4 Euros per month for 1 Gigabyte of traffic (and 4 more Euros for each additional Gigabyte). If I use this SIM for phone calls I pay 4 Eurocent per Minute – with the option to get 1000 minutes and 1000 SMS per month for 10 Euros. All on one single SIM (data and voice). And without any minimum contract duration – I can cancel the contract at the end of each month. (I live in Austria and use as mobile provider).

Do I think that PeekFon is a nice gadget? Yes. But as the only use-case for me is roaming in Europe, it’ll be cheaper to buy a pre-paid SIM if I stay longer in some country. For example, in croatia I spent something like 20 Euros for a pre-paid SIM with 200 Megabytes. Saying this, I’d have to say that I really love Amazon’s Kindle. While I generally use it to read e-books, it also serves as a free e-mail machine when traveling in the US (as there is a Web browser included and as Amazon currently does not charge for the traffic).

Bastian Manintveld on December 10, 2009  · 

Congratulations! This is an excellent initiative. If I wouldn’t have just committed another 2 years to my mobile operator, so for Spain I’m covered, but I still might buy one just to use when I’m travelling. every day I’m roaming here in Europe costs me 10 euros + IVA for 10MB of data.


Pau Valiente on December 10, 2009  · 

Martín, Fon podría crear una OMV que solo ofrezca datos por europa a 12,90 €/mes sin contrato, estilo simyo. Triunfaría.

steven on December 10, 2009  · 

Do you have an url for this “Spotnik” ?
I can’t find this Pan-European operator ?

Pau Valiente on December 10, 2009  · 

Sorry, I posted in Spanish without notice.
Fon could launch a OMV (in Spain a Virtual Mobile Operator) with only a data plan valid in all Europe for the 12,90 € / month.

Dario Salvelli on December 10, 2009  · 

FonPeek is pretty similar to TwitterPeek ( True?

Roberto on December 10, 2009  · 


thanks for the answer. Please state if its the Peek Classic or the Peek Pronto.

Well, I evaluated NutShellMail ( yesterday so I would really love to know if the Peek can show HTML as well.

And yes, I would be one of your customers for the Peek 🙂


GS on December 10, 2009  · 

Will you be able to connect the Peek to a laptop for browsing and email?

steven on December 10, 2009  · 

Will it be SIMlocked…or could I use this sim in my netbook and thus browse&surf as well 🙂
What is the speed? You mention “gprs”…does that mean as fast as an analog modem from 1996 ?
Fast enough for emails without attachments; (I guess the Peek can not show me Office files or pdf’s?)
or twitter…. but surfing the net?

Martin Varsavsky on December 10, 2009  · 

Email machine, nothing else. You can’t use the SIM for anything else.

Bigfatbball2 on December 10, 2009  · 

What prevents anyone from opening the peekFon, taking out the SIM ditching it and using the SIM in an iPhone to get the unlimited roaming data for peanuts?
13euros/months for unlimited GPRS data in EU is cheap as chips but isn’t that going to put you out of business pretty quickly.

Also Martin do you have more details about spotnik? I’ve googled it, nothing comes up about them.

steven on December 10, 2009  · 

@BigFatBBall2… they can simlock/devicelock it using the unique IMEI code of every device…

edouardo on December 10, 2009  · 

Is it the Peek Classic (with only 2 accounts, email text size limited) or the Peek Prompto (5 accounts, unlimited text) ?

Scott Allison on December 11, 2009  · 

This is a nice piece of innovation and definitely fulfils a need. While BlackBerry providers here in the UK have roaming tariffs, they are extremely expensive. Android is particularly bad when roaming because so much of the email application depends on having a live connection all the time, fine in your home country but useless when overseas at as much as £8 per Mb! When I was at leweb I left data roaming off relying solely on the (sometimes patchy) wifi connection.

gerard on December 13, 2009  · 

And who is the owner of this new MVNO named Spotnik, Martin Varsavsky of course 🙂

Bastian Manintveld on December 13, 2009  · 

Hi Martin,

I’d like to give the PeekFon as a Christmas present. Will you be able to deliver before then?


Krikor Ohannessian on December 13, 2009  · 

i was wondering what are the odds of adding a “location-based social networking” service to the PeekFON?

steven on December 13, 2009  · 

If they install a 8-12kbyte application on the sim card inside the pek it would be possible to add location based social networking to the PeekFon

More info at

uno on December 14, 2009  · 

#25 Steven

Look awasome. We need something similar to save development costs.

olivier on December 17, 2009  · 

Great idea…

Will you adapt the PEEK for Europe ie proposing special Keyboard mapping?

I would die for a AZERTY french keyboard Peekfon…

bath mateus on December 18, 2009  · 

I loved your posting.

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