Fon Raises $14 Million for WiFi-Sharing Network

You've used the phone but have you used the Fon? Fon is an up-and-coming player in the global WiFi-sharing network space -- and it just raised $14 million through some heavy hitting technology players, including Qualcomm and Google, to push its concept to the masses.

Here's how it works: Fon members share a bit of their home WiFi, and in exchange, get free access at millions of other Fon hotspots worldwide, with no monthly fees. To participate, Fon says all you have to do is buy a Fon WiFi router, called Fonera, and plug it in to your broadband connection.

Alternatively, customers who live in a country where Fon has a telco partner, can sign up with them to become a member.

Strategic Partners

Chipset maker Qualcomm Inc., through its venture capital arm Qualcomm Ventures, led the latest round of fundraising. The investment underscores its relationship with Fon as a strategic investor. Other investors participating in the round include Index Ventures, Google, Coral, Atomico and Deutsche Telekom.

Fon's management says the company is working hard to develop what it deems a EUrevolutionaryEU router that combines social WiFi with social music, based on a chipset from Qualcomm Atheros. Fon expects to roll out the new router in the first half of 2014.

Simultaneously, Qualcomm Atheros is integrating Fon as a feature, available via SDK (software developer kit) for its chipsets, aiming to make it easier for WiFi router manufacturers that use Qualcomm AtherosEU chipsets to integrate Fon.

Fon's website shows Fonera priced in the U.S. at $49. Pricing is not yet available for Fonera for Business, which the website says is coming soon.

Can Fon Succeed?

EUThe amount of this round and the caliber of investors will propel us into our next stage of growth,EU said Martin Varsavsky, CEO of Fon. EUBy integrating Fon into Qualcomm AtherosEU chipsets, more...

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