Telekom Deutschland expands WiFi capabilities with Fon

Telekom Deutschland is a member of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, which collectively operates thousands of WLAN hotspots across numerous markets in Europe, North America and Asia. It has now also signed a partnership with the WiFi network provider Fon Wireless to extend its current national network of 12,000 hotspots to some 2.5 million by 2016.

Founded in early 2006, Fon operates a hotspot community in which users can share capacity on each other’s connections. Sharing creates a private network as well as a public one shared with other Fon members. Fon operates some 7.7 million hotspots in more than 100 countries, though its principal markets are the UK, Spain, Belgium, Croatia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Russia, Poland and Portugal.

For TD, the deal is part of a strategy to upgrade its network capacity in a bid to keep up with growing data traffic. The network, dubbed ‘WLAN TO GO’, follows similar deals with Fon signed by KPN and BT. TD planned to launch the Fon service later in 2013 through its subsidiaries in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

Expanding its WiFi footprint is crucial given TD’s rapidly developed LTE capabilities since 2009. Having concentrated on commercial services in rural areas in the 800MHz band (as per its licence conditions) it has since extended LTE to urban communities, also operating in the 1800MHz band . Given the high take-up of smartphones over feature phones among subscribers, TD is facing some stark realities relating to network congestion. Given that up to 80% of all mobile data is sent from the home or business environment, the ability to offload traffic to a network of hotspots will relieve much of the pressure.

For more information on these developments, see the report Germany – Broadband Market Insights, Statistics and Forecasts

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