German telco incumbent Deutsche Telekom is close to making a large investment in Spanish Wi-Fi network aggregator Fon, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. It is still too early to say how a resulting strategy could unfold, but Fon certainly could make an interesting Wi-Fi offload partner for a major service provider like DT.
Fon has about 7 million hotspots worldwide that employ a shared usage strategy in which hotspot hosts share their connections in exchange for free usage of other hotspots. The company's coverage is growing fast, and Fon has said within the last year that it could reach 50 million hotspots with five to six years.
However, the company reportedly has had trouble breaking into the German market. Fon recently has increased its efforts to work with broadband operators to enable their customers to roam Fon's network. Last week, the company announced such an agreement with KPN of the Netherlands.
For DT, a potential alignment with Fon would fit with recent announcements suggesting the company is focusing more heavily on its wireless activities and increasing its network investments.
-see this WSJ report
Deutsche Telekom announced a $39 billion wireline/wireless investment
DT CEO Rene Obermann recently announced his intent to step down