FON is a company founded in November 2005 company incorporated under English law, with registered office in Madrid, which has the global and wide-ranging possible installation of hotspots goal.

FON installed and does not engage in the hotspots itself, but in developing their networks to people who want to make their broadband wireless Internet access other FON members. FON sells tickets to use these members hotspots to those who do not provide network access. The user can select or change between two member models: as " Linus " he shares WiFi and unselfish as " Bill", he gets 50 % of the profit that FON does with the sale of tickets to its hotspot. In both cases, the user can be used worldwide on all FON hotspots free internet.

In spring 2008, the company sold 40 of its 100 employees. Martin Varsavsky founded this step until then monthly over 1 million euro loss, which could be reduced by layoffs at € 350,000 per month. In October 2008, Fon increased prices for easy day tickets by 67% from 3 to 5 euros.

  • 7.1 Legal situation
  • 7.2 Safety
  • 7.3 Usability of " La Fonera "

The company FON

FON WIRELESS, Ltd.. is the registered company in London company with headquarters in Madrid. Founder and CEO is living in Madrid entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky. German offshoot is the FON Germany GmbH in Munich. The investors include Google and eBay, as well as Index Ventures and with a share of only 1% and Sequoia, the beginning of 2006 and invested in the aftermath of over 18 million euros in FON. According to an article in the Berliner Zeitung likely the " start-up costs for Fon [ ... ] 100 million euros " have amounted to. Due to the lack of commercial success of the German team, the German FON - office was now closed and the team dissolved completely.

The company has set itself the task to win the world so many users until a global, functional Wi-Fi is built. This process takes place both through cooperation with well-known Internet service providers, as well as through viral marketing, among others even within the blogosphere. In total there are users from over 140 countries. The weekly growth was specified once at 20,000 to 30,000 members, but now kick, according to FrancoFON a continuing loss to users. In contrast to this is the published by the company coverage map, which shows a very good coverage for the UK and Belgium, two countries that do not appear in the list of FrancoFON.


FON is a number of collaborations that can be configured differently well. Allen co-operation together is the granting of mutual login rights so that a global network can be built.

In Germany FON entered into a partnership with E-Plus and has announced another partnership with Telekom Germany. Users of the E -Plus network were able to use up to September 1, 2009 and receive the free FON Fonera wireless router cheaper. At the same hotspots are set up in all E-Plus shops that can be used by FON users. Furthermore, there is speculation about the possible introduction of cross-network techniques, such as UMA. With this technology, E-Plus could be similar to the rest of the German network operators a kind home zone in the region of Fon spots to offer, at the same time would the FON network grow significantly by the large number of potential E- Plus customers.

In the UK, FON has entered into a partnership with BT, France with the there second largest telecommunications company Neuf Cegetel (now SFR). Along about four million terminals can be expanded in households wish to FON Spots. Another cooperation agreement was signed with Roma Wireless. By a roaming network FON members can use the networks of the partner is also free of charge.

Sony sold its handheld Mylo, along with the La Fonera in Japan via its web shop.

In Oslo, currently a total of 500 billboards with FON hotspots are equipped. In Manhattan, the collaboration with CBS outdoor starts. In Taiwan, a collaboration with was closed, the number of aliens (see below usage models ), from 2008, increase abruptly by up to 1.8 million is because they are registered users who are also in a be adopted roaming network. In Malaga the city council supported the establishment of FON hotspots. In an agreement with the City of Geneva, the collaboration was agreed and set out several hundred wireless access points throughout the city.

Another agreement in the U.S. by Time Warner granted there 6.6 million broadband users the option FON. Other important collaborations, including for Germany and other European countries, but also for Asia (eg Korea ) have already been promised, inter alia, by the CEO. In the context of local initiatives constantly added smaller projects under the new initiative density. For example, in the Glockenbachviertel in Munich, in Chueca in Madrid, but also in Japan (Tokyo) and where, starting up to 700 kiosks will be installed in April 2008 in Barcelona. The first local project took place in Blanquefort in France. More French initiatives were previously Massy and Paray Le Monial, a Christian pilgrimage with many millions of visitors annually. The Italian authorities have initiated FON SMS identification now recognized as lawful, and therefore could now start the cooperation with the University of Urbino.

In Russia recently a collaboration with Comstar was announced, the leading ISP in Moscow. The date last published Agreement ZON, the leading broadband provider in Portugal, emerged from former state monopoly.

Internet access FON

The Internet access FON is possible for anyone who has a Wi-Fi enabled device and is in the range of a FON access point. However, the Internet is not regulated globally uniform. In France, only HTTP connections are possible, for example, the cooperation partner Neuf Cegetel. The e -mail retrieval does not use traditional programs, however. The access is free of charge - except for active Foneros who in turn provide their own Internet access FON. To access day passes can be purchased that are valid after activation for 24 hours and allow access from all FON access points. Non-capitalized tickets lose their validity after a year. The Internet is not regulated the same in all countries. So addresses for Sony Mylo are accessible to everyone in Japan, regardless of Fonero. Likewise, Gmail accounts can be accessed worldwide without Fonero.

Conditions for active participation

For active participation, so for the designated also as DSL sharing parts of their own Internet access via FON, running a FON access point is required. FON offers this, several router models, referred to under the umbrella term La Fonera, which can be purchased via the official website. The hardware is sold to other providers also common for a reduced price with time-limited offers. Since March 2013, the La Fonera is available for German no longer on the website. Through an exclusive contract with Deutsche Telekom FON and their wireless offensive " Wi TO GO" possible participants from Germany to refer to an all-IP connection to the router of the Telekom Speedport W724V from June 2013. Existing Fon WLAN operators have continued subsequently as a Spaniard. Only German Wi -TO -GO customers can also use the telecom own Hotspots; other Foneros may only use the privately operated Wi -TO -GO hotspots.

Alternatively, compatible with the router can also be available there FON firmware that updates itself automatically be equipped. Compatible routers include some variants manufactured by Linksys WRT54G and some of the models from Buffalo Technology.

Usage models

Users can theoretically choose between three different usage models. This selection, however, is restricted from country to country. In Japan, for example, can not be Bill.


The user type Linus, named in reference to Linus Torvalds, provides its Internet access using a FON router (or a FON firmware for its existing router ) other members for free. In return he gets free access at access points of all other FON members. FON sold day tickets also LINUS access points.


The user type Bill also shares its Internet connection, but would like to earn extra money ( Prerequisite for this is that the respective provider has a commercial use of the Internet access allowed). He gets to purchases via its access point 's Day Cards, sets the fee for the FON, if it exceeds a share of 50 % (net of taxes and fees), which will be paid only a limit of 20 €. Thus phone reserves in each case, a 50%. In the event that this limit is not reached, the companies are 100 % benefit. If the user has access buy day passes to another access point, the Bill does not receive payment for the use of his access point. Bills may just as users make use of the type Linus also foreign FON hotspots for free internet access since 12 June 2007. Prior to the Bill were excluded from roaming and had day tickets for the price of 2 euros FON purchase.

Regarding the origin of the name 'Bill' is unclear. FON CEO Martin Varsavsky said first, 'Bill' refers to Bill Gates. FON employees, however, say "Bill" refers to the English noun " bill" ( "Invoice" ). For the European head of Fon, Robert Lang, both interpretations are possible, according to an interview with the Electric Reporter.


Aliens ( english alien - alien, in accordance with Alien ) those users are called, operate without their own FON access point. Aliens need for Internet access at hotspots FON members of so-called " day tickets " to purchase FON. The home page explains the aliens the procedure. Payment can be made at present by credit card, through PayPal and in 8 countries (including Germany ) already with premium SMS.

Demarcation with similar models

FON can not distinguish sharply to other models. Free wireless is a non-profit citizens' network dar. While a network of FON hotspots wired operates, grab the free radio operator on the technology of a wireless mesh network. But recently a controlled, wireless meshing of FON has also been announced. followed a similar model as FON and completely use VPN tunnel for his co user. FON puts VPN in France and the UK also already have one. In Germany, to be followed by similar soon.

Criticism and problems

Legal position

One problem is the legal situation regarding the use of the internet dar. Internet access of major Internet service providers in Germany could yet be made generally not permanently available to third parties. Today, however, some German ISP permit the free and non-commercial division of Internet access ( ie in the " Linus " model of FON ). The commercial use ( the " Bill " model) is in many German providers currently problematic or excluded, even if some of the largest German provider condone the use so far.

The service provisioning of FON was against the Federal Network Agency, duly registered, recorded and released in accordance with applicable law. Perhaps there is also still a duty of disclosure of the service provisioning to the Federal Network Agency in accordance with § 6 Telecommunications Act, must be displayed according to each individual site.

The legal responsibility of the person who other users its Internet access, via mediation of FON, provides, in Germany is not yet fully understood so far. It is particularly still open whether a liability, at least as Mitstörer, comes into consideration, as required by current, but not top -of-court jurisdiction was the case with an unsecured Wi-Fi, or whether the registration requirement of all users with FON, the Mitstörerhaftung precludes effective. To be noted is here in particular that FON next to the login data of the FON users also logged the DNS Views, so that a third caused by damage would be unique to you in many cases.

On 5 June 2009, the Higher Regional Court of Cologne has found that commercial Wi -sharing against the competition law. FON appealed against the judgment of law to the Supreme Court. The case was, however, there does not negotiate because FON and 1 & 1 have agreed out of court on the day before the trial.


  • FON offers the user no way to encrypt the wireless data transmission of the public signal (either WEP, WPA or VPN tunnels ). All transmitted data (including user names, passwords and e-mails ) are therefore mitlesbar without ( optional ) end-to -end encryption in the reception area for third parties using the appropriate software. The October 2006 FON router delivered " La Fonera " sends two separate SSIDs, one public and one encrypted for Safe private access.
  • An anonymous usage is excluded by contract.
  • The Aufstelladresse the hotspot is available for everyone. It is a road map prepared on the exact geographic location is displayed and its surroundings. The name, however, is not publicly available, if it is not explicitly specified.

Usability of the " La Fonera "

The La Fonera is a full wireless router. FON requires the purchasers of the hardware contract to operate it exclusively with the released of FON firmware in order to participate in the FON composite can. You can not dub the firmware by unauthorized foreign firmware is complicated by the use of electronic signatures. The firmware is available as a derivative of OpenWrt under the GPL and is consistent with this License freely downloadable. In spite of the declared by the GPL right to adapt and develop to FON effort to eliminate the use modified firmware on the router.