Fon Raises $14 Million for WiFi-Sharing Network

YouEUve 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 to push its concept to the masses.

Qualcomm Inc., through its venture capital arm, Qualcomm Ventures, led the fundraising round. 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 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 for its chipsets, aiming to make it easier for WiFi router manufacturers that use Qualcomm AtherosEU chipsets to integrate Fon.

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 devices and systems will be automatically equipped to be part of FonEUs global WiFi network.EU

Fon has grown 50 percent in the past year and now stands at over 12 million WiFi hotspots. With its crowd-sourced approach of converting existing WiFi hotspots into community hotspots, Fon has blanketed entire countries with near-ubiquitous WiFi coverage.

In countries such as the U.K., France and Belgium, for example, more than 10 percent of households have Fon hotspots. Other regions such as Japan and Brazil are catching up. Fon has calculated that it has significant coverage in more than 1,000 major cities, making Fon the worldEUs largest WiFi operator in municipalities.

We caught up with Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, to...

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