Monday, October 23, 2006

FON overtakes T-Mobile 

The ORF Futurezone features an interview with Christine zu Salm, the media managerin of FON in Germany, about the future plans of FON. The reason was of course the new offer from FON to get La Fonera, a preconfigured WiFi Router, for free.

FON is a Spain WLAN company, with participations by Skype, Google and Sequoia, operating currently 100.000 WLAN hotspots worldwide, most of them up to now in Asia, e.g. in South Korea. With the new free offer in Germany (and Austria) they have already overtaken T-Mobiles 24.000 hotspots.

Currently Germany is used as a test market, the plans are to have 1 Million hotspots worldwide by 2010. The basic idea of FON is to open the WLAN hot-spots of residential users in currently 3 different modes:
  • Linus: You give away the access to the hotspot for free to every other Linus user in exchange for free access by them.
  • Alien: you pay $3 per day
  • Bill: You pay half of an Alien, but you get back some money if somebody uses your hotspot.
Most users are Linus.

The question is what FON wants to do with these hotspots in future?

Salm: In November there will be offered dual-mode WiFi-VoIP/GSMs phones for use with the hotspots. This will make our infrastructure also interesting for third parties. The hotspots may also be used for distributing short video-clips (a la YouTube). In addition, the mobile phones may be used for transactions (banking and location dependent services).

Since I am already a Fonero since August (it works perfectly) I am really waiting for the mobile phones ;-)

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