Skype has rebranded Skype Access to Skype WiFi, and released a free application for iOS. The application lets anyone with Skype Credit log on to one of the millions of access points and place calls and get Internet access using your Skype Credit.
The move helps those in airports, hotels, and other travel locations access Internet without having to pay other service providers for the right to get online.
It kind of makes sense, and it kind of doesn’t.
The application is available for iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad, so the obvious perk is that any non-3G device could get data while on the go without having to pay a third party. That’s a big win.
It’s also going to be extremely handy for the road warriors who find themselves landing in foreign countries where the cost of 3G data is extremely expensive.
But, that’s kind of where it ends. As we move to a even more connected world, and as all of our devices get data plans, the need for mobile hotspots will diminish significantly. The one thing this has going for it is that Skype’s rates are extremely competitive, and often cheaper than carriers’ typical rates. WiFi access prices through Skype will start from US$0.06/4p/€0,05 (inclusive of VAT) per minute.
Also, we’re not entirely sure why Skype needed a second application to pull this functionality off, instead of including it in the normal application.
Have you seen one of these Skype WiFi access points in the wild? I haven’t yet, but I don’t get out much these days.