Yesterday I spent the morning going over Fon´s billing software and the launch of the Bill model. So far Fon´s 39,000 foneros signed up for the Linus model as that was the only one available. In the Linus model a fonero shares some of its bandwidth to people who pass by his/her home and then gets to roam the world for free. In the Bill model a fonero is an entrepreneur who sells day passes to the Fon community and makes money doing so.

There´s been a lot of debate on how much to charge and share with the Bills at Fon and we are coming close to the conclusion that Fon will charge 2 euros or dollars per 24 hours of usage on any Fon hotspot if the Alien buys 5 days of usage but if they buy only one it will be 3 euros or dollars per day. Of this money half of it will go to the Bills who will sign up with Pay Pal from our partners at eBay in order to get paid by Fon. We are also studying the figure of the Super Bill.

A Super Bill is somebody who buys say 10 routers at a cost of 250 euros, places them around his neighborhood and makes money off all of them. Super Bills build wifi communities that are either free or affordable. Fon believes the time has come for the end of rip off wifi. 2 euros per day is a reasonable amount, 5 euros an hour like people pay now is not. Now if you are a Linus do not fear, Linuses get to use Bills hotspots without paying as Linuses are WiFi donors. And if you are a Bill do not fear Linuses, there are 39,000 Linuses in the world, but there are over 6 billion Aliens! Why do we think Bills are essential? Because at the beginning at Fon if you are a Linus you are sharing with others but there´s very few people who share with you. So Linuses want other Linuses. Bills however are in the opposite situation, as for them other Bills especially nearby are competition and they want to be first, so Fon believes that the pace of adoption of Fon will greatly accelerate with the Bill model. Having said all this it was fun to meet Rene Oberman the other day at the Google Zeitgeist conference in The Grove and confirm that Fon now has more foneros than T Mobile has hotspots. That we are the largest wifi community in the world even before launching the Bills. Now T Mobile has better locations, that´s for sure, and we should find a way to work together as Fon is also the fastest growing wifi community in the world.

We still don´t know exactly when we will launch the Bill model and begin charging but we think this will happen before the end of June. Expect an announcement soon.

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isaacb on May 26, 2006  · 

After being following the FON movement since the start of it on this blog, and then on the media in general, I still think that many people around us, POTENTIAL FUTURE FONEROS still dont know what FON is and what kind of advantages could get by FONEAR their routers to the FON community.

I am talking about this just because I talk to so many people about FON and many of them JUST DONT KNOW IT.

Blogs in general and media has been the TOOL for FON but, FON should be able to penetrate more with in the target since the BILL’s are coming and people can make profit out of it.

How FON could be able to make loads of NOISE on the media when launching the BIILS?

More Viral Marketing?

Specific Actions Worldwide?

How is FON going to compete with giants (spending billions marketing wise) to tell people that FONEAR their routers and pointing them to the streets will help to eliminate RIPP OFF from companies such as Vodafone for example?

3.0 rating

gerhard on May 26, 2006  · 

“Fon will charge 2 euros or dollars per 24 hours of usage on any Fon hotspot if the Alien buys 5 days of usage”

this statement remains a little bit unclear for the potential bills reading this…

..does this mean: a bill has to login continuously for 5 days, or does this only mean, a bill will pay 5 tickets a 24 hours for discontinual use for a better price…

i dont know..

could you explain this point to the audience pse?

thank you very much

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Martin Varsavsky on May 26, 2006  · 


The alien can use the 5 days anytime during the calendar year.


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Martin Varsavsky on May 26, 2006  · 

Isaac, we can´t announce it yet but there will be a LOT of NOISE.

Our problem is that the more NOISE we make now the more MONEY we lose, cause
we buy our routers for 50 euros aprox and sell them for 25. But we are
making our own routers, they will be ready in September. Until then, Fon
will be for a smaller crowd. Then when we pay 25 for our routers and we
sell them for 25 we will start our own MINISTRY OF SOUND.


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isaacb on May 26, 2006  · 


You can count on me for pushing on that side of the market.

The more you go to the underground, the more you penetrate the target, spending billions in marketing campaigns you already know, it is not the way for FON.

Please let me know if I can help!

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till on May 27, 2006  · 

What do you use for billing? A custom tailored solution or did you buy something?

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David Oliver on May 27, 2006  · 


“Bills however are in the opposite situation, as for them other Bills especially nearby are competition and they want to be first” – based on your current model aren’t Bills going to be in competition with both other Bills and Linuses? This is because an Alien – the only ones paying – will be charged regardless of whether they connect to a Bill or a Linus (and if they connect to a Linus then Fon doesn’t need to share the revenue). And for Bills over time it won’t be a matter of being first but having the best location (will you give a Bill/ Super Bill exclusive geographic rights to an area?). One solution to keep Bills happy is if an Alien connects to any Bills during the 24-hour period (assuming that Aliens access more than one hotspot, some of which are Linuses and some are Bills) then a proportion of the 50% revenue allocated to the Fonero is paid to the Bill.

In the future I think that you will need to provide incentives to encourage people to join Fon as either a Linus, Bill or Alien rather than using free hotspots. For an Alien this might be an assurance that connecting through a Fon hotspot will give them better security and some kind of reward points scheme, while Linuses and Bills can get a free email address (look how popular Gmail was) and reward points based on usage (number of users or bandwidth) of their hotspot. Also over time as you introduce other revenue generating services such as Location Based Services e.g. download a map of the area you’re in showing restaurants, bars etc (either for a micropayment or ad supported), or VOIP calls then you can offer a different revenue sharing model that will benefit both Linuses and Bills.

I think that Fon is off to a great start with a huge groundswell of support, and this large and growing user base will mean that large incumbents – ISPs, mobile operators, existing wifi hotspot operators etc – will eventually agree to work with you. But I also think that your revenue generating and revenue sharing model will need to be refined.

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Martín Varsavsky on May 27, 2006  · 


We are developing our solution with the help of a consulting firm.


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Martin Varsavsky on May 27, 2006  · 

Thanks for your ideas David. I am sharing them with the Fon team.


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