Our plan at FON is first to start a movement to expand coverage and then, in a second phase, to launch FON applications, starting with WiFi phones (WiFiFONS) with VOIP rates and no line costs for Linuses. However, if you’re one of those Linus pioneers that just can’t wait, I recommend you try PeopleCall’s WiFi telephone service. I tried it today and it works really well. For now, it will work in your house and where you catch a WiFi signal, but with FON you’ll be able to use it in many more places and PeopleCall’s WiFi phones will be compatible with FON.
I’ll also take this opportunity to thank Herme Garcia, who’s been advising me on how to use WiFiFONS. I’m proposing a plan to him whereby calls between WiFiFONS and PeopleCall would be free. My idea is that – contrary to Vodafone, Movistar or Amena, who set ridiculously high rates for inter-operator calls, that are in the end borne by the client- calls between new VOIP operators wouldn’t be charged.
The crux of FON is to interchange bandwidth in your home with bandwidth outside of your home. This will enable you to pay exactly what you’re paying now but with much better service, since what you’ll have is access to a wifi nation. In addition, I realised today that thanks to WiFiFONs – which we plan to launch in November (a mobile WiFi telephone that connects to the FON network) – and the flat fee for a fixed line offered by Telefonica, Jazztel or Ya.comm to which most FON members are already subscribed to, users will be able to do something really neat.
The idea is the following: that each FON member connects his/her WIFIFON to the flat fee she/he is subscribed to so that, instead of paying us, say, 5c a minute, the user speaks for FREE. I suppose my marketing colleagues will say that this is shooting ourselves in the foot but while we will have to find another way of making money, from a user’s perspective, I think it’s great to be able to use your own connection to transfer mobile-to-phone.
How does this work? This little gadget might be the answer: a VOIP switch connected to a public network, a tool that can organise your own telecommunication. For the techis out there, it’s simple: become a FON member and buy a WiFiFON but configure it so that instead of paying us you have calls coming out of the flat fee you are already subscribed to. In other words, it will be like a mobile phone that uses your fixed line without any additional cost. This wouldn’t be something FON would do, members would have to install it themselves. Moreover, even without FON, you can already do this just by downloading VOIP software in your laptop. You buy this gadget, and you get something better than SkypeOut, because your new tool is SkypeOut for FREE!
One thing is clear though: this little installation would never reach the quality of your current mobile since, where there is no FON, you won’t have any coverage!