Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/23/fring_wefi/
Fring ties up deal with WeFi
Not a business model between them
Fring has added access to WeFi's alleged 20 million hotspot network to its free VoIP client, in a deal that promotes both companies but still makes no money for either.
For a while Fring, enjoyed being the only way to get Skype onto a mobile, other than Windows. But these days there are quite a few ways to achieve that, so Fring has been forced to value-add in all sorts of unlikely ways. The latest of these is an embedded client for WeFi's community-driven hotspot network, which claims to provide 20 million free-to-use wi-fi hotspots around the world.
WeFi is a replacement for the wi-fi manager on laptops (PC or Mac), or Smartphones using Symbian, Android and Windows Mobile, and reckons to provide an improved interface and greater functionality than the in-built client. It is able to automatically switch to the strongest wi-fi connection, and disconnect GPRS when wi-fi is available, but it also records your location and shares your hotspot experiences with other WeFi users as shown in the helpful video:
In blind deference to the credit crunch, neither Fring nor WeFi has any significant revenue stream, nor much of a business plan to create one. Both companies are busy building up a user base on the premise that if you build it they will come, and once they have come, they will pay to stick around. But neither has any plan to make that last bit happen.
Meanwhile the VCs backing them keep piling in the cash, apparently forever. ®