This morning I was looking at the latest registered fonero numbers. Foneros are people who sign up with Fon and would like to share bandwidth. If they want to do this for money they are Bill foneros, if they want to do this in order to obtain free wifi roaming anywhere else in their country or the world where there are foneros they are called Linus foneros. Now as you can see from this list Fon is becoming a very global company, ¿or is it? Considering that Muslims make one person in 5 in this planet, how come we already have foneros from so many countries and none from Muslim countries?

Top 30 by number of registered Foneros.

Spain – 5217 registered users

United States – 5102 registered users

France – 1885 registered users

United Kingdom – 886 registered users

Italy – 821 registered users

Germany – 779 registered users

Netherlands – 669 registered users

Argentina – 419 registered users

Sweden – 343 registered users

Canada – 332 registered users

Belgium – 229 registered users

Switzerland – 224 registered users

Portugal – 174 registered users

Mexico – 167 registered users

Chile – 151 registered users

Brazil – 140 registered users

Ireland – 130 registered users

Denmark – 108 registered users

Norway – 108 registered users

Australia – 95 registered users

Austria – 93 registered users

Israel – 91 registered users

China – 77 registered users

Poland – 70 registered users

Finland – 64 registered users

India – 61 registered users

Colombia – 54 registered users

Estonia – 52 registered users

Venezuela – 40 registered users

Hungary – 40 registered users

Fon has not spent any money in advertising so far. It´s been only word of mouth. Still that not a single Muslim country would appear in this list worries me. I wonder what we could do to get our message to those countries.

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hombrelobo on March 13, 2006  · 

Well, Spain has about 500,000 muslims; the USA a few millions; China many millions; India is the country in the world with most muslims only after Indonesia …. so I think you already have quite a few muslims in here …

I understand your point. But the world has changed so much in so little time. Spain is no longer a catholic country, or the US a christian one … we are all mixing, and that is good 🙂

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Cem Mimaroglu on March 13, 2006  · 

Well – we are all global and we are not…When it comes to technology adoption, many things still depend on initiatives put forth by local entities. That same logic applies even more forcefully when it comes to governments in Muslim countries and their lack of efforts in popularizing the use of internet (I am not referring to Muslims leaving in foreign countries). Most of the times these government have no incentive to open-up masses’ eyes to the rest of the world…Which brings me to my second point – Have u guys seen the Public Wi-Fi article in this week’s Economist (I know that I am changing the subject but I where else on this site can I do this?)?. It talks about government’s ineptness in managing such complicated projects. Why don’t we target American local entities and municipalities more aggressively and really have Foneros take over that task from them?

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Lutful Khan on March 13, 2006  · 

I notice there is no African countries listed either.

The top 5 countries by muslim population ( Indonesia, India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh ) all happen to be quite poor. WiFi laptops are luxuries that ~90% of the population can not afford.

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gerhard on March 13, 2006  · 

perhaps you should blog in arab language :-))

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Anonymous on March 14, 2006  · 

the muslims from today are not well known for being open minded against technics at all (this does no count for all muslims for sure). 800 years ago the muslim world was on top of the science. something has changed. So if we you talk about muslim countries like pakistan, iran,irak etc. you should know thats almost impossible to get internet in these countries. Maybe we will see the first foneros from Dubai

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Yusuf on March 14, 2006  · 

Martin, I’m not sure if you have ever visited any “Muslim” country particularly in the Middle East. Here are some links to how their telco works in one such country

Now think about how your product is going to be perceived in this country. Let’s say. somebody sets up a FON system and allows all and sundry to use it and not sign up with the telco provider. They are looking at a reasonable revenue loss. They are not going to share when they can collect everything 🙂

Regards, Yusuf

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Martín Varsavsky on March 14, 2006  · 


Fon makes JVS with telcos and I have been to Siria, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Jordan,only in the last 3 years.


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Cem Dalgic on March 14, 2006  · 

Fon and the muslim world?!

Martin, the thousands of registered Fon user are located in countries, where you and your team are located. It´s not a matter of religion, but rather the fact if you have hired good employees in these areas. Find the right people in UAE, India, Pakistan and FON will have more “muslims”.

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Martín Varsavsky on March 14, 2006  · 


I meant Muslim countries, but I guess I was not clear. We don´t have foneros in Muslim countries yet, and I would like to find a way to communicate our message in those countries.


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Cem Mimaroglu on March 15, 2006  · 

Muslim or not – We should be really engaging government and communities of all kinds more, and educate them on the Foneros and their potential to become the skeleton of PUBLIC WI-FI at low cost/maintenance – that is the idea…

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Rima Batal on March 15, 2006  · 

Hi Martin,
The main reason that there are no foneros yet in muslim countries is that WIFI is still in its infancy stages. I am currently in Beirut and just recently I have been able to purchase a WIFI router whose setup costs will amount to 350$ in addition to paying a monthly fee of about 150$ per month. Most people in the Middle east are now switching from dial-up to cable connections and hence I see that it will take a few more years before WIFI takes off.

I am more than happy to help in publicizing and taking FON further in the Middle East.

My best to you,

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RBA on March 16, 2006  · 

While I undrestand what you’re saying, do consider that the Islam is a religion, not something tied by country boundaries.

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Martín Varsavsky on March 16, 2006  · 

Thank you Rima!

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Martín Varsavsky on March 17, 2006  · 

#12 RBA,

I can´t tell who of our foneros in Europe or USA are Muslim but I sure that in that sense we must have a lot of Muslim foneros. What we don´t have and would love to have is foneros from countries whose official religion is Islam. We don´t understand why is it that we get so many foneros from so many countries but not from Islamic countries and would like to reverse this situation.


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Mohamed on March 18, 2006  · 


First of all i have to say thank you very much Martin that you think to promote this technology in muslim’s countries

I agree totally with Rima i dont have yet ADSL but InchAllah (God willing) I will help in publicizing FON


Mohamed from Algeria

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Xavier on March 19, 2006  · 

Hi Martin, Did you try to contact with the people of OpenBC??? Sure that they can help you to promote a little bit more your concept in the Muslim world.
Also Did you check wich kind of Wi Fi communities do you have there? probably you will have less communities than in the list of countries that you wrote. And maybe in a lot of the muslim countries will not exist any Wi Fi family. But why you don’t introduce FON to the other communities, I’m sure that Brainslayer is in contact with some of them…

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Martín Varsavsky on March 20, 2006  · 


Fon has developed a different way to work in developing countries, such as your or my native country, Argentina. In these countries Fon wants to launch the Fon Cooperatives in which 10 neighbors buy one connection and share it through wifi. While telecom companies may initially opposed this they will soon realize that it leads to the right market segmentation. Well off customers won´t go for this and will just get their own connections but the Fon Cooperatives will bring many new buyers to DSL lines.


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