Deutsche Telekom partners with Fon to build largest German Wi-Fi network

Deutsche Telekom (DT) plans to launch Germany's largest Wi-Fi network in partnership with crowdsourced Wi-Fi provider Fon.

The new service, branded WLan To Go, will offer DT customers who share their home Wi-Fi with other users access to millions of hotspots worldwide free of charge, the operator said. DT already has around 12,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Germany. Later this year, DT will also launch the Fon service through its subsidiary operations in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.

"The partnership with Fon fits perfectly with DT's network expansion strategy," DT CEO René Obermann said in a statement. "The astonishing increase in data traffic calls for network optimisation and expansion, as well as the implementation of new high-speed networks. By the year 2016, we want to set up more than 2.5 million additional hotspots in Germany with the WLan To Go offering."

This agreement comes a few weeks after industry rumours linking DT with a takeover of Fon, although nothing further followed.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Deutsche Telekom to expand the Fon network in Europe," Fon founder and CEO Martin Varsavsky said in a statement: "They are an amazing company and we look forward to working with them to blanket Germany, and beyond, in easily accessible Wi-Fi."

Spanish-based Fon currently supports more than 8 million Wi-Fi hotspots, and has more than 9 million subscribers largely based in Europe, but with a large community in Brazil.

DT is not the only operator that is looking to take advantage of Wi-Fi, of course. Indeed, AT&T Mobility recently noted that it recorded more than 2.7 billion connections to its Wi-Fi network last year. The carrier said the figure is more than double the number it recorded in 2011. Perhaps more importantly, AT&T also said it saw three times more mobile device traffic, over 5.2 billion MB, exchanged on its Wi-Fi network in 2012.

For more:
- see this Deutsche Telekom statement
- see this IDG News Service article

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