Light Reading

Qualcomm Funds WiFi Upstart Fon

Ray Le Maistre
1/20/2014
50%
50%

WiFi access services specialist Fon Wireless has raised $14 million (€10.3 million) in a new round of funding led by comms chip giant Qualcomm.

Fon Wireless Ltd. , which has developed an international network of 12 million shared WiFi access points in 1,000 cities by striking partnerships with fixed, mobile, and cable network operators, has been growing rapidly during the past year: In 2013 it announced partnerships with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), French operator SFR , and Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN). (See AT&T Strikes WiFi Deal With Fon and DT Preps Wi-Fi Push With FON.)

Now Fon has raised a new round of funds to expand further in the US, form relationships and build its business in new markets, and develop new hotspot technology and WiFi applications for small businesses. The latest round takes Fon's total funding, since it was founded in 2006 by telecom entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky, to more than €60 million ($81.4 million).

The funding from Qualcomm Ventures further expands Fon's relationship with Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), as Fon is basing the development of a new WiFi router (which incorporates a music-sharing application) on a chipset from Qualcomm Atheros . That new router is set to be launched in the first half of this year.

In addition, Qualcomm Atheros is integrating Fon's protocol stack into the software development kit (SDK) for its chipsets, making it easier for router manufacturers to build support for Fon into their products.

As well as Qualcomm Ventures, existing Fon investors Index Ventures , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Coral Group, Atomico Ventures , and Deutsche Telekom also participated in the round.

Fon, which was spotlighted in Light Reading's recent Top 10 Carrier WiFi Movers & Shakers feature, expects to have 35 million WiFi access points in its network by 2016.

For more on Fon's model, watch this video interview with Fon COO Alex Puregger.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
clippingpathbusiness
50%
50%
clippingpathbusiness,
User Rank: Light Beer
4/12/2014 | 10:33:43 AM
Clippng Path Business
Clippng Path

You can also try selling things on ebay, blogging check out problogger.net for tips, or setting up a niche website of your own.

Shuvo,
    
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/22/2014 | 1:35:08 PM
Re: Scale game
That's very possible.

Though I wonder how many ISPs would follow Comcast's lead and simply deploy similar concepts of their own?
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
1/22/2014 | 10:27:41 AM
Re: Scale game
Its Foneros are of course really important, but it seems like their bigger play is with operator partnerships. That's the quickest way to grow its customer base. I bet they'll start do more with ads and services for revenue generation. I've asked Qualcomm about the social music angle of the partnership. Not sure what that will look like, but there might be some extra money there?
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/21/2014 | 9:53:13 AM
Re: Scale game
Their recent resurgance in the press has been interesting, as somebody (like you) that has been watching this company since they were handing out old Linksys routers with custom firmware.

Seems like there was a huge bang to start with, a long period where the focus was overseas to minimal effect, and now a massive new PR push in the States.

Despite all the noise, I don't see a lot of actual users signing up to use this service, especially with the ever-increasing availability of free Wi-Fi and ubiquitous cell connections. Something to be said for perserverence to be sure though, I agree.
chuckj
50%
50%
chuckj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/21/2014 | 1:20:09 AM
Re: Scale game
This sounds like what we referred to as vendor financing in the 90's.
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
1/20/2014 | 12:58:16 PM
Scale game
You have to admire the perseverance of the Fon team - it has taken them years to build up the trust of the telcos and other network operators to engage in partnerships.

But I wonder at what point does Fon become a ghoing concern as a business? THis is a real scale play -- the more people that sign up to be 'Foneros' the greater the reach and appeal of the service and the greater the potential revenues for Fon -- but when does Fon break even?

I'll be asking...

 
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|2|15   |   11:27   |   (3) comments


Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
Carolina Town Becomes First US 10-Gig City
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/3/2015
Eurobites: Anite in OSS Tie-Up With Nokia
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/4/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Cats with Phones
It's a New Age... Click Here
When smartphones replace stuffed animals.