Image representing British Telecom as depicted...
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MobileCrunch reports about AT&T buying Wayport, a WiFi operator with around 3k hotspots in the US, for $275 Million. Fon has 300k Fonspots. We are 100 times larger and we grow a Wayport every week (although to be fair there is probably a 10 to 1 ratio in value of the their hotspots as they are strategically located and ours are where foneros are). This move from AT&T confirms the carrier’s interest for WiFi as a way to offload traffic from their expensive 3G network. At Fon we have been arguing that mobile operators will soon realize that the economics of sending movies, video, tv, music and games do not work out for 3G networks as ideal as they are for voice and light data.

Demand for ubiquitous Internet access is growing rapidly with the proliferation of devices like iPhones, Blackberry phones, Android phones and small and inexpensive laptops like the ASUS EeePC or MSI Wind. All these devices come with built in WiFi support and surprisingly mobile operators are supporting it, since even though they make money with 3G data connections they want to keep data intensive application off their expensive mobile networks and WiFi is the best way to offer fast broadband access at a low cost. Apple and AT&T already built WiFi support into the iPhone in a way that drives or forces users to use cheap WiFi instead of expensive 3G for any data intensive application, be it music downloads, VoIP or video streaming with Youtube.

At Fon we are still losing money but losses are coming down fast from 1.2 million euros in October of 2007 to 310K euros in October of 2008 to do a month to month comparison. More and more Fon members or Foneros as we call them are enjoying the benefits of a network that is absolutely free for them for occasionally contributing 20% of their bandwidth to others. Moreover many foneros are making money with Fon selling passes to non Fon members. And Fon keeps signing up Telecom partners who see Fon as an effective tool to lower churn and lower customer acquisition costs. British Telecom is one such happy partner.

In any case as an entrepreneur in a company that is still subsidizing the Fonero movement and in times of tremendous financial upheaval it makes me happy to see that AT&T the most valuable Telco in the world has clearly seen tremendous value in WiFi and gone for Wayport. I also want to congratulate the folks at Wayport for building such a worthwhile company.

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fonero on November 7, 2008  · 

“And Fon keeps signing up Telecom partners…?” Who are they? And , pls, tell us the practical results of your partnership with “Time Warner Cable” years ago! Thank you! Where is the proposed partnership in germany? I cannot detect anyone….. When will Russia go online i cannot detect any moving. What about Taiwan? Numbers of foneros are descending rapidly! What about Japan? Glenn Fleishmann told us, that japanese Foneros cannot be “Bills”? But yout told us that Japanese are “willing to give ; willing to share”. Don´t you recognice difference between your fantasy and real life? Where are you living?

3.0 rating

Stephen G on November 7, 2008  · 

Will the FCC’s decision to allow unlicensed use of whitespace make FON more valuable? (i.e., make it easier to get a backhaul )

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Jordi - FON on November 8, 2008  · 

@fonero, you are going to like this one (, Portugal is growing at an incredible path and even creating density projects in Lisbon´s city center for all of us Foneros visiting that amazing city. Regarding Russia ( already thousands of devices with FON are being sent to Russia and logistics for deployment have already started and… don´t have any doubts, Comstar is the BEST partner we could ever dream to have in Russia. Moreover, even I cannot disclose yet, I can tell you our teams are busier than ever with several FON ISP implementations in different countries all over the world. Keep in mind that, because FON means modification on CPE firmware and backend systems, the implementation process is not as simple as a software download but, at the same time, a Fonera, a FON Friendly BT Hub, a Comstar CPE FON Friendly or any X-ISP FON Friendly box is of much more value to all of us Foneros than a software on a notebook.
Jordi – FON

3.0 rating

Jordi - FON on November 8, 2008  · 

@Stephen G, I think it will be useful for us but not in the short term. We have been following that FCC decision very closely for quite a while and, even it is still not clear when the first implementations could start and when the first chipsets supporting it will be embedded on devices, it is indeed very good news for all of us supporting unlicensed band protocols like WiFi. This is a new open alternative to the technologies that we have now to build up Community Generated Networks and the backhaul supporting those networks.
Jordi – FON

3.0 rating

fonero on November 9, 2008  · 

“Moreover, even I cannot disclose yet, I can tell you our teams are busier than ever with several FON ISP implementations in different countries all over the world.” ok. ok! let me cry loud: SOS – SAME OLD SOUP…. nothing new but only BIG PR. FON seems to be a specialist for that. No concrete answering…. cloudy statements… as “usual”. Sorry, but this is no longer believable…

3.0 rating

steven on November 9, 2008  · 

I noticed that UK people that buy a fonera on the FONshop in Spain are also becoming “btfon”-people sharing their Wifi with BT…
only problem they have is that BT only controlls 1/8th of the internet in the UK…so 7 out of 8 are NOT happy THEIR internet is being resold by their competitor…

a few UK ISP’s have allready altered their contracts that sharing is forbidden.

By linking FON to an ISP in each country FON does loose it’s identity… Fonero’s can’t get a FoneroGetsFonero; No more Family&Friends and no more becoming Bill… these are limitations that are not mentioned when they are buying hardware in FON’s Shop…

3.0 rating

Martin Varsavsky on November 9, 2008  · 

@ steven:

There is proof that Fon makes people stay with their ISP regardless of what their ISP is and we have not been ask to stop selling Foneras to any ISPs because Fon makes ISP customers happier and less likely to churn.

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