You may be notified the FON lanuched a full new designed FON.com web site. They are offering Linksys WRT54GL router for US$5. This special offer does not contain VAT and shipping costs, and they only ship to Europe and U.S. Fon is launching Bills with this sales promotion, and released the new firmware 0.6.6 at 2006-06-23, just a few days after my first peeping.

Fon was aiming to have 50,000 working hotspots worldwide by September, 150,000 by year-end and one million hotspots by the end of 2007.

This message is according to news report from BBC News (Wi-fi pioneers offer cheap router) which had a interview with Juergen Urbanski. We knew that Accton Technology Corp (智邦科技) will be the main supplier of the routers, Accton will deliver the first 20k La Fonera compatible routers. FON planned purchase of 1 million to be supplied by Accton and other manufacturers. The sure thing is Accton is not the only one manufacturer in Asia, FON.com had an agreement with Planex to make their products FON ready. It seems possible to boost the number of users to 1 million by the end of next year, since they provide router with very low price. But the price in Taiwan has not set yet, I wonder how much it will be. 😉

The new web site removed the source code download page which was at http://en.fon.com/downloads/manuals-and-downloads.php, and disabled directory browsing of the download server. There are no news talk about this on their blog, the new entry only mention about the Bills and a router for US$ 5. It’s so quiet that makes me think they are probably doing something new, but don’t want someone know about it. I don’t know if they did that on purpose, but I made a mirror on my personal web site. You can download the old version files from here, if you are interesting about looking into the source code.

I tried to download the new source tree of new 0.6.6 firmware from http://download.fon.com/firmware/0.6.6/FONbasic-0.6.6.tar.bz2, but the file is same as http://download.fon.com/firmware/0.6.5/FONbasic-0.6.5.tar.bz2 with different timestamp. If you have a FON router, please download the new binary firmware, and let me know what’s different with the old version.

  • According to my source, in Taiwan the official list price of Accton’s la Fonera will be 1500 NTD, and the special price will less than 800NTD for special promotion activities.

  • Why do people in taiwan have to spend NT$ 800 or so to get a FON router, which is sold for only NT$ 5 in Europe and USA where they have much higher GDP per captia ? If it’s true, there will have to be someone launching an [email protected] blogging campaign to deliver this kind of information to consumers and raise the serious objection against FON’s price discrimination.

    In addition, FON is planning to monetize their social router on a location-based advertising basis

  • I saw the price proposal from news paper earlier in this month. I bet they will not sell the devices with that price (NT$ 800 or NT$ 1.5k). It will be lower then NT$800, I guess, since the manufacture costing is about US$20 ~ US$25. I believe FON.com will provide subsidy for Taiwan users, but with a proviso clause which ask user use the router and join FON for at special time. (one year?) There is no reason to pay more money to have a device made by a local company.

    BTW, FON.com updated the tarball on download.fon.com last night. I will check the different with the old version, when I get home.