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KPN signs wifi deal with Fon

Alex Puregger, COO and director of the board for Fon

Dutch incumbent operator KPN has announced a partnership with wifi network provider Fon that it says will give KPN customers access to more than 1,500 hotspots in the Netherlands and a further seven million worldwide.

Fon, founded in 2006, aims to create a global network of free wifi hotspots by requiring consumers to share a portion of their domestic wifi in return for access to that of fellow Fon users. The Spanish company aims to build its network to include 50 million hotspots worldwide “within a couple of years”. Currently it has users in more than one hundred companies.

Joost Farwerck, managing director KPN Netherlands said: “We are the integrated access provider in The Netherlands. We aim to deliver our customers fast and integrated services across both our mobile and fixed network. This partnership is an addition to this strategy.”

Last year Fon’s COO Alex Puregger told Telecoms.com that cellular network technologies alone will not be able to handle the growth in demand for data that operators are currently experiencing.

“Nowadays, operators simply cannot afford to not have a wifi strategy,” he said. “They know that with all of the connected devices currently around, and all of the data-heavy applications that are coming to market, there will soon be a ‘data tsunami’ that simply cannot be handled by 3G or 4G. Customers [also] want wifi connectivity since a number of their favourite gadgets come in wifi-only versions.”

KPN said that it expects to test Fon’s network during the first half of this year, with commercial launch of the service expected sometime after that, within 2013.

Click here to watch an interview with Fon’s head of sales, Carlos Gomez, filmed at MWC2012.


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