When we started Fon, back in 2006, 200 million WiFi chips were sold. This year according to GigaOm it will be 1 billion. This is a simple reminder that when critics say that 3G will kill WiFi they are just wrong. If anything 3G makes people even more interested in getting data which then operators want to offload to WiFi. The iPhone is a case in point. Why is it that when you buy songs from the iTunes store you can only do it over WiFi and not over 3G even in the 3G iPhone? The paradox of mobile carries is that they want you to pay for expensive data plans but then….use WiFi.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

No Comments

Paul RODTS on August 16, 2008  · 

Also most telecoms don’t have enough capacity on their network if everybody starts downloading via 3G !
And if telecoms want 3G to work with acceptable speeds, they will need in a city area, about each 400 to 500 meters, 3G antennas (except if not many users are connected to the base station, the serving cells will be a bit bigger). There are many drop-out problems while sending large data files via networks at 1.800 or 1.900 Mhz. The use of a lower frequency ( 600 or 700 Mhz ) is a more realistic approach for sending data, in this case they need an antenna every 1 to 1,2 km. So a roll out for a good and always fast working network at high speeds with Umts/Egde/Gprs/Hsdpa is unrealistic due to the ‘not in my backyard’ syndrome. 3G and Wlan technologies must cooperate. 3G is only fine if the antenna is very close to you.
Also a Wi-Fi Router is much cheaper than a full antenna installation and the yearly lease the telecoms have to pay at the owners of such a building.
Trust me : all this is very costly….
So the future is …..all technologies (including WiMAX by the way) working together !

3.0 rating

Diego Parrilla on August 16, 2008  · 

If femtocell ramps up, then 3G can reshape the WiFi market. Otherwise they will coexist…

3.0 rating

Paulo Silva aka PJMDS on August 16, 2008  · 

Please compare the WiFi coverage of any WiFi router (b/g mode) inside a house with default antenna to the 3G coverage of any service provider, it’s like comparing 1 to 100000000000, you can even add a better antenna to the router and put it outside, the coverage will be ridiculous low compared to 3G.

The 3G function of the iPhone is unreliable, please read latest news about the subject, it’s still a beta device full of problems and
missing features that were introduced years ago on most devices.

3.0 rating

Moshe Maeir on August 16, 2008  · 

Martin I must disagree with you. The main fuction I use on my phone, even more than voice is email. 3G makes it so easy – it is a no brainer. If I want to use wifi – I need to search for a network, see if the signal is not too weak and stand still :-). 3G works fine in a moving car or wherever I may be!

The only problem is the price, but operators are now offering unlimited packages for reasonable prices, so soon that will not be a issue.

Why are there a billion wifi chips? Well the prices are so cheap and consumers assume that all laptops and phones include it that manufacturers say why not… But I do not think that it is a solution outside of the home, office or coffee shop, unless of course you get a billion FONs out there!

3.0 rating

Jarod on August 17, 2008  · 

hi,my fon has some bug,
I can’t use ubuntu loging myplace, is my wifi card bug? I am using 802.11 b .

3.0 rating

Martin Varsavsky on August 18, 2008  · 


To me 3G is what I use when I can´t find WiFi. And even in my boat, where I am now, I have a 3G to WiFi converter because my kids and their friends want WiFi, not 3G. They want WiFi for their PSPs, for their Macs…

How can you get Internet into a PSP with 3G?

3.0 rating

Diego Parrilla on August 18, 2008  · 


you are wrong! your kids are not looking for Wifi or 3G. They are looking for just an INTERNET ACCESS (do you say ‘my kids are looking for an ethernet connection?…)!!!

Wifi cannot be pervasive because of its nature (<200mw), but 3G can be pervasive. So build small 3G access points that can work like a Wifi AP and you can have the best of both worlds. At home, you use 3G just to connect to your fixed xDSL connection at no cost. Leave your home and you can use the data services of your operator paying a small fee.

May be you should think of femtocell as something to include in your ‘fonera’. And share the revenew with the telcos 🙂


3.0 rating

Rui Nunes on August 18, 2008  · 

I tend to agree with you Martín.
The ideal is to have a wifi network in every corner. but the fact is, that 3G is broadly covert on the several countries. The wifi, on the other end is only viable on cosmopolitan locations.
But, go ask to anyone who needs to download a ton of emails, like me through a 3G and you’ll ear the common answer: Oh, wifi, please come to the rescue!
3G works well when you’re outside “civilization”, but wifi has better download performance and stability. And the demand of 3G phones is much greater than wifi today. So the servers get crowdy and the service sucks.
You’re on the right track for now. Let’s see the solutions presented on the future. 😉

3.0 rating

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets