Thursday, September 11, 2008

One million Foneros!

Well it seems Fon is now officially claiming that there are one million foneros. Below is Martin Vars blog post and the bold is my comments intermingled in it:

Growth at Fon has accelerated. So much so that we reached one million community members and close to 300K lit routers (this is ten times more routers than T Mobile has on a worldwide basis).

Back in May Martin claimed "Number of registered Foneros is at 830,000. Number of registered hotspots is 332,000 and of active hotspots at anytime has gone up to 212,000," but we really know how that turned out. LINK

Yes it is true that a lot of the growth from Fon is now coming from operator deals, especially from BTFon but that is also great news because Fon is proving that we can work with telecom operators. Fon is showing fixed operators that by adding our shared wifi functionality with their broadband customers they have less churn, a lower cost of customer acquisition and a higher ARPU. We are also beginning to show some wireless operators that as laptops get smaller and phones get bigger mobile devices become data hogs and that WiFi is a great complement to 3G. The iPhone which even though is sold as a 3G device forces you to use WiFi to get downloads from iTunes is another proof of concept.

There he goes again comparing WiFi to 3G...

Sales of routers and day passes keep growing as we reduce losses. Last year we were loosing more then a million euros per month and this “burn rate” has shrunk to around 300K per month this summer. Our goal of reaching break even by the end of 09 which seemed so distant last summer now looks within site. And the fundamentals are with us. When we started Fon, back in 2006, 200 million WiFi chips were sold. The number of chips sold this year is expected to reach 1 billion.

This information is at least consistent with what he claimed before.

And more telecom operator deals are in the pipeline. In July we started Fon in Portugal in partnership with the largest cable operator in that country called Zon. Together we created Zon@Fon to serve their 1.5 million customers plus everyone else in Portugal who would like to enter the network. Next month we will launch Fon in Russia together with Sistema, the largest fixed and mobile operator in the country and we have 8 such deals in negotiations. Top countries for Fon are the UK, Japan and France. Japan in particular is the country where we sell the most routers. These countries are also some of the three most technologically advanced large countries in the world. To me this means that others will follow.

Again maybe Fon is benefiting from all of these partnerships, but does it benefit the Foneros? Personally, for me Fon is useless. I don't make any money as a bill (only $2.06 to this date and I will never get paid that money) and free roaming doesn't do me any good if there are practically no Fon hotspots anywhere I go (to be exact there are like 5 within a couple mile drive) Also, what about the USA, has Fon even attempted to partner up with any ISPs or whatever. Fon "had" a partnership with Time Warner Cable, but as far as I know of this is nonexistent.

Regarding our employees, we now have a more international team, reflecting the fact that Spain is less then 10% of our market. I take this opportunity to congratulate the people working at Fon for the great results achieved. Even if the company is not profitable yet, our goal gets closer every day and I personally put my time, money and heart in Fon. I also want to thank our investors at BT, Google, eBay, Index and others. I also thank all Foneros around the world as without their enthusiasm Fon, the largest WiFi network in the world would not exist.

"Even if the company is not profitable yet, our goal gets closer every day and I personally put my time, money and heart in Fon." - From my perspective, I have seen "progress" that has had very little impact on me.

"I also thank all Foneros around the world as without their enthusiasm Fon, the largest WiFi network in the world would not exist." - So if everyone turns off their routers, Fon would no longer exist? Who would have guessed that. Good thing he remembered to thank the investors for dishing out millions so that Fon can sell more crappy routers.

I guess for my one final thought. There maybe over one million foneros, but how many of those accounts are actually active? How many of them are Bill/Linus(s) and aliens? Who knows...


The English Fon Blog and El Fon Blog also have blog entries on this whole deal. It seems that there is some ambiguity between the Fon Blog and Martin Vars Blog. Fon blog claims there are 400,000 active hotspots while Martin claims 300,000. Someone forgot how to count I guess. Anyway I feel bad for this person claimed to be the "1,000,000th Fonero" because in reality he is just the 1,000,000th person to register. (including all of the people who might have multiple accounts and fake email accounts to get a 15 minute free trial)


Martin Vars Blog: "One million Foneros!"

El Fon Blog: "A Million Times, NO."

Fon blog: "FON WiFi Community welcomes 1,000,000th member"

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