Fon and DT’s Croatian Telecom Launch Co-Branded Extension to the World’s Largest Crowdsourced WiFi Network

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!

Fon in Croatia!
Fon in Croatia!

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.

Comments

  1. elfonblog

    elfonblog

    6. 2. 2013. in 9:05 am Reply

    I used to be the biggest fan and blogger about fon. I stopped supporting fon because I eventually accepted that they could not be encouraged to honor any of the attractive promises they made over the years.

    Here’s how fon works: you buy a router from them based on an unclear promise that you could make some money selling access to your wifi with their authentication and payment system provided for free. No matter what your local market may bear, you do not get to set fees. The fees don’t vary by market, and they are one amount for anyplace that uses dollars, and another amount for anyplace that uses euros. If anyone pays for access to fon wifi -at your hotspot-, you *may* get 1/3 of the money they paid. You will have to provide free access to anyone who bought their access through a different fon spot, or who is a customer of a fon “partner”. Almost no “partners” permit free use of their hotspots by foneros; it is non-reciprocal.

    Fon treats it’s foneros as thralls, and not the franchisers they really are. Fon makes partnerships with any big-name ISP or telco in return for investment money and/or the right to claim that all of *their* customers are now part of the supposedly ginormous fon network. Fon’s size claims have always been consciously obfuscated and falsified. Fon doesn’t even care if your hotspot is within range of customers; they only want you to buy their merchandise so they can provide investors with exciting membership numbers. It has been proven many times that they count long-dead fon spots, even on their hotspot map.

    Fon has made many great claims in the past and has always turned out to be manipulative, exaggerating, and outright lying. Fon is a treacherous company to work with. Investors will never see their investments paid back. Fon claims to be profitable by excluding investor entitlements and any other expenses from the equation. Fon exists only to skim salaries from the revenue stream. Fon president martin varsavsky travels often to exotic places, gives a short speech on fon, and then writes it all off as business expenses. He has built several previous businesses, pumped up their value, and then sold them off. Fon is no different. It is a hole to throw money into. Fon is built entirely out of open source software and many other hotspot providers have done a much better job of building flexible systems. Anyone but fon, folks!

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