updated 12:05 pm EST, Thu December 10, 2009
PeekFon offers free European roaming for e-mail
UK-based Wi-Fi provider Fon has recently teamed up with US-based e-mail and text messaging device maker Peek to create the PeekFon brand in Europe. Under the partnership, PeekFon will offer users no roaming charges in any European country, letting users send and receive e-mails and texts over GPRS data networks. Fon works on the principle of sharing Wi-Fi access, with subscribers to a home service that open it to other Fon users receiving access in return wherever they are in their travels across Europe. The PeekFon will get rid of the need to find one of the claimed 800,000 hotspots throughout Europe.
PeekFon also promises to bring Internet browsing, Twitter and other functionalities over the course of upcoming months. The device should prove popular with frequent travelers who require constant e-mail access, as the roaming charges between European countries are fairly expensive. Also, in comparison to plans for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android-powered handsets,
PeekFon's data service is about eight times less expensive for roaming users, or about fourfold if they stay within their home region over a two-year period.
GPRS service for the PeekFon will be provided by Spotnik, with Fon being the outfit's first client.
The PeekFon will cost the equivalent of about $146 when it goes on sale on December 15th in Europe, when it will include six months of unlimited e-mail service throughout Europe, without any associated roaming charges or contracts. After six months, users will have to pay about $19 per month for the service, but are free to leave at any time. [via Martin Varsavsky]