Boingo Wireless and Skype have fluttered eyelids at each other, gone for a quiet snog and, ruddy faced, jointly announced Skype Zones, a partnership that offers global Wi-Fi access to Skype customers at (ahem) “revolutionary” prices.
Skype Zones will let Skype’s 45+ million users access the popular VoIP service via Boingo’s network of 18,000 Wi-Fi hot spots worldwide, using a customised Skype version of the Boingo Software.
Currently, unlimited Wi-Fi access for Skype Internet telephony calls is being charged at $7.95 (~€6.53~£4.50) per month, although terms and availability may change as the service is still in beta.
Customers can access Skype on the move via the Skype Zones software which includes Boingo’s Wi-Fi sniffer, connection management and roaming authentication capabilities.
Once connected, laptop flipping punters will be able to make Skype calls and access features such as presence, global user directory, contact lists and instant messages with the Skype software.
“Partnering with Skype demonstrates the evolution of public-access Wi-Fi to include VoIP and other value added applications by allowing greater connectivity and productivity on the move,” said David Hagan, Boingo president and CEO. “Skype’s convenience and call quality have made it as important to travellers as email, and we expect Skype usage to increase traffic and revenue at our network of hot spots.”
Fluffing up the big pink cushions of corporate love, Niklas Zennstrom, Skype CEO purred passionately about his new partner: “Boingo is a world-class company that offers Skype users unprecedented global communications mobility and accessibility, at an aggressive, market disrupting price.”
“Affordable broadband access is fundamental to open communications, and partnering with Boingo to deliver unlimited Skype access around the world at such a compelling price point will generate new customers for both companies,” he added.
The combined Skype Zones service is available immediately as a beta test, with Skype inviting user feedback to help them fine-tune the service.
The Skype Zones client is available for Windows PCs and can be downloaded from the Skype store or the Boingo Web site. The software includes a directory of Boingo’s 18,000 hotspots.
Monthly access to Skype Zones is $7.95 per month for unlimited Skype access or $2.95 (~€2.42~£1.66) for a 2-hour connection.
UK users may find the pricing offered by Ready To Surf a little more ‘revolutionary’, as it gives free Wi-Fi access to make Skype calls in 350 Internet locations across the UK.