Brussels, 14 November 2011 - Already over 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots available this year, free for all Belgacom Internet customers
Today, Belgacom is starting to build the largest Wi-Fi hotspot network in Belgium, thanks to the partnership announced in June with the Spanish company Fon: this year, Belgacom Internet customers will be able to surf on their laptop, tablet or smartphone (Android & IOS & Blackberry) for free via over 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots. In 2012, this network will be extended to more than 500,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Belgium.
Thanks to this cooperation, customers can take their fixed Internet experience at home with them wherever they go. In combination with Belgacom's mobile network, Belgacom Internet customers can benefit not only from an optimal fixed Internet solution, but also from an optimal mobile Internet experience, in Belgium and abroad.
Cooperation with Fon
In June, Belgacom announced its cooperation with the Spanish company Fon. Fon is the world's largest Wi-Fi community, with over 4 million customers sharing their wireless Internet access with each other worldwide. While most providers of public hotspots install the equipment themselves, Fon configures the modems of Wi-Fi Internet customers so that, besides their own network, they become part of a semi-public network on which Fon users can register. Both networks are completely separate from each other. Sharing the Wi-Fi connection is also completely safe.
The extension of the Wi-Fi network in Belgium in practice
The principle is simple: the wireless Internet connection of Belgacom customers at home is opened to members of the Fon Wi-Fi community, in a secure way. Their modem has two access points: one for private use and one to share with other users. The shared use will have no noticeable impact on their own Internet experience or their TV quality, which will always be given priority. The traffic is completely separated.
This year, Belgacom will inform every customer with a secured BBox2 modem (via e-mail or the bill) about the configuration of the semi-public network. . Customers can decide not to participate. In that case, they will not be able to use the other Wi-Fi hotspots themselves either.
Use: easy and free of charge
The service is free for all Belgacom Internet customers. While registering via the e-Services, they create a login and password; customers who combine their Internet subscription with a B-One subscription (mobile voice in a Belgacom Pack) will get an additional access to also surf via a second handset such as a smartphone. Customers will immediately gain access to the Wi-Fi network and can then surf outside their home, in Belgium as well as abroad, as they will have access to the Fon community.
Customers who open up their modem will not be billed by Belgacom for the public traffic on their Internet connection. The traffic made outside on the Wi-Fi hotspot will be deducted from the monthly internet volume (included in their fixed Internet volume). Internet Favorite and Intense customers can now therefore benefit from unlimited surfing both at home and on the go, inside and outside Belgium, where over 4 million Wi-Fi hotspots are already available.
Addition to mobile Internet via 3G
Thanks to the complementarity of its fixed and mobile network, Belgacom has everything it needs to offer true convergence. For instance, access to the Internet via the BelgacFon Wi-Fi community is a complement to mobile Internet:
- Wi-Fi use is nomadic: it is limited to 20 m around the hotspot, without seamless transfer to other hotspots. Wherever there is a BelgacFon hotspot, e.g. at someone's home or in a cafe, you can surf on a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
- Mobile Internet is, of course, "mobile": the Internet connection is maintained while you are on the move. You can use the 3G network while walking through the city.
Belgacom lowers the threshold and reduces the digital gap
Belgacom has already introduced a number of radical changes in its Internet offer:
- In June, Belgacom launched a ground-breaking convergent Internet offer: a Pack with access to the Internet at home (Wi-Fi) and on the go (3G), with a Samsung Galaxy Tab (tablet) thrown in, for just €39.99 per month. This offer, which was possible thanks to a privileged partnership with Samsung, is proving a great success. Of course, these clients can surf as well with their tablet on the Wi-Fi network.
- In September, Belgacom boosted the speeds of Internet Start and Internet Comfort. Internet Favorite customers can surf without data limits since September (just like Internet Intense customers), without any rate increases, and Internet Start without a fixed line became even cheaper, as did the option for unlimited volume.
Thanks to these efforts and partnerships, Belgacom has significantly lowered the threshold for gaining access to the Internet everywhere. The customer thus gets more value for money. Belgacom also continuously invests in its fixed and mobile network, giving customers simple, seamless access to their services and applications everywhere, at home and on the go. Usage of the different networks is thus becoming increasingly intertwined, without the user being aware of it.