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Summary:

So finally, the news has been PR-sanitized. British Telecom (BT) has made it official that it is investing in Spanish Wi-Fi sharing service, FON, and will also make an investment in the company. I had reported this back in March, so am not quite surprised by […]

So finally, the news has been PR-sanitized. British Telecom (BT) has made it official that it is investing in Spanish Wi-Fi sharing service, FON, and will also make an investment in the company. I had reported this back in March, so am not quite surprised by the news. FON is having a big party in London to celebrate, and I am going to be there, if only to ask Martin Varsavsky the question: Is he really paying $8-to-$10 per BT customer who turns on the FON client? Now that is one way to spend the VC dollars and get a bigger footprint!

Martin’s blog post details the news. Also, some expanded thoughts from Connected Internet, which asks the relevant questions but gets no answers from BT. For instance:

* What will be the coverage targets be for BT FON?
* How much bandwidth will each BT FON customer be asked to share?

I will add one of my own: How does a BT-FON combo overcome the footprint issues? I have tried the FON routers and the usage experience…. ahem!

Update: Varsavsky denies that BT is paying for FON client installs…and Om is doing some additional reporting and will update the post again shortly.

Update#2: Martin Varsavsky writes on his blog that he is not paying BT, and he has emailed and assured me of the fact, and that my sources are off base on this information.

  1. Om, I love you and your blog but your comment that we pay BT per each BT Fonero is so not the case! Imagine they have 3 million hubs, how could a company that has raised 28 million so far and is not profitable pay potentially 30 million to BT? Of course we are not paying them anything. We are sharing revenues from Aliens with them.

    BT Foneros share at least 512k and as far as the percentage of BT customers who will opt in to be BT Foneros I really don´t know how many BTFonspots we will get but think that The Cloud has less than 10K and we will probably do over that in a week. And then BT has the best hotspots in railway stations, airports and WiFi cities all available to BT Foneros…

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  2. FON and BT – Wifi Today; Mobile Tomorrow?

    A deal announced today between British Telecom and upstart FON allows BT’s Internet customers to share their own broadband connections via WiFi and, in turn, be able to access WiFi free at “thousands” (doesn’t say how many) of FON hotspots arou…

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  3. [...] Fon and British Telecom sounds like it could be a costly one for Fon and its investors. GigaOm is suggesting that Fon may have agreed to pay $8 to $10 to BT for every one of its broadband customers who agrees [...]

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  4. Why so negative? I think the deal is cool! Hope they replicate in the US soon, so we also get proper mobile internet! My opinion regarding the fee per user. a) dont think so b) highly unlikely that a public person like Varsavsky would publicly lie about this. A lot of reputation at stake. Dont you think so?

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  5. That’s so great Martin… I’m a huge fan of FON and its great to see you doing so well

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  6. Om,

    Please do that “additional reporting” pretty quickly. Your insider info is so blatantly false, undocumented and, as such, irresponsible that your savvy tech insider blogger journalist reputation is on the line. Come on, Om, a little respect to the people who read you.

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  7. Now for the important questions: will you have the chance to attend a proper football match – or live cricket?

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  8. this article is crappy bullshit and very very unserious. no recherche. not time ? confused? also the second question about bandwith could easyly be answered, if you had studied the FAQs section in http://www.btfon.com. be ashamed. its a great blamage.. not for FON, but for YOURSELF! :((((

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  9. oh….all the fon shills are having a field day. Anyone with a modicum of biz sense knows that Fon is the biggest joke in the Silicon Valley

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  10. This spells the end for Whisher. No one is going to be able to compete with this type of team effort. I put a post on their http://blog.whisher.com/ linking to the good news regarding Fon & BT, however it would seem they choose now to censor any comments they don’t like, but then I suppose their drowning their sorrows and might not have checked their mail

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