Thursday, March 18, 2010

Free Wi-Fi Access via Skype This Weekend

Skype is promoting its Skype Access pay-per-minute Wi-Fi option by making it free this weekend: From the start 20 March (0000 GMT) to the end of 21 March (2359 GMT), you can use Skype Access to access 100,000 hotspots worldwide at no cost. The service, available since last July, must just have left beta testing, even though it was unclear to me that it wasn't a released service.

Skype Access uses Skype software to handle a Wi-Fi login transaction, and normally costs (including Luxembourg's VAT) US$0.22, Cdn$0.26, €0.16 per minute; fees are debited from the Skype Credit in your account. Skype itself is a free download and free to use for Skype-to-Skype IM, file transfer, audio chat, and video chat.

That's expensive in the U.S., where you can pay $10/mo for unlimited Boingo Wireless service at the same or more locations, and where $8 to $12 is the most you'd pay for 24 hours (the equivalent of about 30 to 60 minutes at Skype's per-minute rate).

However, elsewhere in the world, being able to get 10 minutes of Wi-Fi for a couple bucks might seem much more appealing without having a service plan or paying ludicrous European hotel prices, which can be $20 to $40 per night.

A full list of supported hotspots networks is available.

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