MWEB and Fon collaborate to build South Africa’s largest WiFi network
16 JANUARY 2014. CAPE TOWN & MADRID.- MWEB has announced a new partnership with Fon, the world’s largest WiFi network. The deal gives MWEB ADSL customers, with a Fon–enabled router, the exclusive opportunity to join a global community of 12-million WiFi users who share their connections with each other.
Fon, the global WiFi network founded in 2006 in Spain, but now represented on four continents, is made up of Fon community members who share a part of their bandwidth as a separate WiFi signal. In return, Fon members are able to securely access any other Fon WiFi hotspot both locally and globally. Last year alone, Fon grew its network 50% thanks to partnerships with major telcos such as British Telecom, SFR France, Softbank Japan or Deutsche Telekom Germany. More than 1,000 major cities around the world are blanketed with ubiquitous Fon WiFi coverage.
Derek Hershaw, CEO of MWEB, says “We have been looking for a way to broaden our customers access to WiFi beyond their home or office network without compromising the quality of internet access that they’ve become accustomed to. The new Fon relationship will complement our existing WiFi zones and will give our customers access to cost effective, quality mobile Internet access and a growing network.”
Recent trends highlight that South Africans are increasingly more mobile, with Cisco predicting that mobile traffic will account for 26% of all South African data traffic by 2016. This, combined with Orange Telecom’s view that 50% of international mobile data will be delivered via WiFi in the near future, underscores that MWEB is tapping into a significant, but under-realised opportunity in South Africa. *
Alex Puregger, COO at Fon, based in Madrid, says “Fon is are delighted to work with MWEB because of its track record, credibility, footprint and loyal customer base: it already has a large base of more than 320 000 customers which could potentially all become Fon members! Fon on the other hand compliments MWEB’s local fixed broadband capabilities with firstly a global WiFi network and secondly a mobile opportunity to increase its footprint outside the home and business.”
“Mobile, and specially specifically WiFi, is seen as the future driver for Internet connectivity on the African continent and globally. We are very confident of the growth potential in sub-Saharan Africa and see South Africa as a base for expansion into the rest of the continent.”
Puregger added that since its launch in Europe in 2006, Fon’s business model has been based on ‘give a little, get a lot’. “Eventually we will have created a crowd sourced WiFi network where everyone who contributes, connects for free. We are thinking of it as global uncapped WiFi.”
Using their ADSL login details, MWEB customers with a Fon–enabled router, can immediately access the rapidly growing network of WiFi hotspots, which currently includes MWEB WiFi Zones and 750 AlwaysOn hotspots. More than 30,000 hotspots across the country are expected by the end of 2014.
“As broadband costs decrease and more users and sites come online, MWEB will take South Africa into an unlimited mobile Internet future. We want to fundamentally change what people expect from mobile connectivity. In MWEB’s vision of the future, our users will never have to adjust how they consume the Internet just because they aren’t at home or in the office,” Hershaw concluded.
To immediately increase the residential and small office footprint, existing and new MWEB ADSL customers will be offered a free* Fon upgrade, including a Fon – enabled WiFi router and WiFi range extender as of Thursday, January 16, 2014.
- Cisco predict mobile traffic will account for 26% of all South African traffic by 2016. This is up from 4% in 2011 – Source:http://mybroadband.co.za/news/broadband/46286-sa-mobile-data-to-hit-102565tb-per-month-in-2016.html
- Orange Telecom’s Sebastien Crozier’s view that 50% of mobile data will be delivered via WiFi – Source: http://mybroadband.co.za/news/cellular/88447-wi-fi-versus-3g-4g-in-south-africa.html
Fon was founded in February 2006 by a serial entrepreneur Martin Varavsky with the goal of blanketing the world with WiFi. Today the company is a global WiFi leader with 12 million hotspots around the world. Fon has offices in Madrid, London, Tokyo and New York. Its partners include Belgacom (Belgium), BT (UK), Deustche Telekom (Germany), Hrvatski Telekom (Croatia), KPN (Netherlands), MTC (Russia), Netia (Poland), Oi (Brazil), SFR (France), Softbank (Japan) and ZON (Portugal). For more information, please visit fon.com
MWEB was founded in 1997 and is today South Africa’s leading Internet Service Provider (ISP). MWEB is highly regarded for its wide range of internet access offerings, differentiated tools and services, best-of-breed technology guarantee and internationally sourced R&D to benefit its approximately 320 000 customers . The company comprises three main divisions: MWEB Connect, which is focused on the Residential and Small business market, MWEB Business which offers products and services for medium and large businesses to integrate their IT infrastructure and business processes with the Internet. MWEB WiFi a new division focusing on providing high-speed Uncapped WiFi in public areas for consumers and businesses. MWEB is owned by MultiChoice South Africa Holdings Limited that has 30% Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment shareholders, and is a subsidiary of Naspers, a JSE-listed company.