It seems that Deutsche Telekom is serious about the world’s largest crowdsourced WiFi network Fon, or at least it seems so after DT’s Croatian arm Hrvatski Telekom announced today a deal to offer co-branded Fon devices and services to its users in Croatia. It’s name: HotSpot Fon!
DT’s potential stake in Fon
The Wall Street Journal learnt at the end of January that Deutsche Telekom was considering a stake in Spanish WiFi network Fon, while Gigaom’s analyst Kevin Fitchard called a potential investment a “smart move”. Fitchard theorizes that Deutsche Telekom could use Fon networks to offload its 3G and 4G network.
Fon is crowdsourced, meaning you buy a WiFi device that you install on your web router, that acts as an access point to other Fon users. In return, you can access other Fon locations around the world, a total of 7 million of them.
As Hrvatski Telekom confirmed to Netocratic, their new co-branded HotSpot Fon service will be exclusively available to T-Com (fixed internet) users in Croatia who will be able to use Fon for free with their ISP login information, with the cost of the device being around $50 in the stores of Hrvatski Telekom. Other users will be able to buy vouchers to use the network.
Fon confirmed the partnership on their official blog, and Hrvatski Telekom has launched a product page for the HotSpot Fon service. The two companies also launched a localized iPhone network location app. While Croatia’s market of 4.5 million might not be big, its tourism industry offers a lot of potential for testing the service in Deutsche Telekom backyard. While DT might not be directly linked to the new service, Croatia will surely be a good testing ground for a potential service in Germany and other markets where Germany’s biggest telecom is present.