…and nobody seems to be talking about it.
For a while FON bragged how it was able to surpass the wifi networks of Telefonica and others in one fell swoop. Well, in an even bigger fell swoop, French ADSL provider free has simply opened up the wifi networks for its customers with the latest version of its set-top box (the ‘freebox’), allowing them to roam on each others’ networks and make free phone calls.
FON was proud to go from zero to 100,000 access points (most of which were never even activated) in under a year.
But Free has gone from zero to 300,000 overnight.
Imagine if Telefonica, or France Telecom, or Verizon – companies with tens of millions of customers, were to follow the example of free….
I think all this highlights that operators still have a lot of leverage here to make things happen, and quickly, *if* they have the will to do it. For FON, this should be a clear warning that bypassing the operators to go directly to the people will be very difficult. To survive, they should be working directly with all the incumbent operators to help them ‘do a free’.