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MWEB, Fon, turn homes into hotspots

A new partnership means Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities will be available in any wireless home where an MWEB customers has a Fon router.

MWEB has announced an exclusive partnership with Fon, the world’s largest WiFi network to give MWEB ADSL customers with a Fon-enabled router, the ability to join a global community of 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.

Use of a Fon hotspot by a visitor to a home will not affect the data capacity of the home-owner.

‚”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,” says Derek Hershaw, CEO of MWEB. “”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, underscores that MWEB is tapping into a significant, but under-realised opportunity in South Africa.

‚””Fon is delighted to work with MWEB because of its track record, credibility, footprint and loyal customer base as it already has a large base of more than 320 000 customers which could potentially all become Fon members,”” says Alex Puregger, COO at Fon, based in Madrid. “”Fon, on the other hand, complements 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 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 Always On hotspots. In the future, as more MWEB Fon customers sign up, so the MWEB Fon network grows and more than 30 000 hotspots across the country are envisaged by the end of 2014.

The number includes MWEB’s WiFi zones, which are also Fon hotspots, and its home and small business ADSL customers that it anticipates will take up the Fon service.

‚””As broadband costs decrease and more users and sites come online, MWEB will take South Africa into an unlimited mobile Internet future,”” said Hershaw. “”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.‚””

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.

* For more information on MWEB’s Fon offering, visit or call 087 700 5000.

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