Lately, we have been making so many ISP deals around the world that I lose track of them and find out about these agreements through the press by having a Google Alert on FON (as it is the case with this Swiss ISP this morning). An ISP deal means ISPs (DSL or Cable) who sell broadband and see teaming up with FON as a way to sell more broadband at no extra cost to them. In this case, I see it reported in the news but in a publication that I don’t have access to.
Why do ISPs make deals with FON? Because without any additional cost to them, they can sell broadband by telling their subscribers, “pay at home and roam the world for free” while with their competitors say “you pay at home and only get WiFi at home.” With FON, churn is lower because the main reason for churn is that “I travel a lot I am never at home”. On the other hand with FON, if you disconnect at home because you are travelling, you cannot roam. Also FON turns them into a wireless player and they can build services on top of our platform, sell them and keep all the revenues. Plus, FON is a friendly brand because if you are a Fonero you never pay anywhere, and people somehow just like that and ISPs like to be associated with our brand.
My career has been in the telco industry. I started Viatel, Jazztel and Ya.com, three ISPs who are well known for their innovative services and low rates. FON has become the largest WiFi community in the world with over 120K activated WiFi access points (which we call “FONspots”) based on selling the La Fonera to people who already have broadband. But working with ISPs who provide FON in their own boxes or who sell every new connection with FON accelerates the process of getting to a point in which Foneros truly have free WiFi almost everywhere.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars