Skype knows that not everyone has access to 3G or 4G everywhere, all the time. As a result, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company announced it is expanding its Wi-Fi hotspots service, Skype Access.
Specifically, Skype Access' partnerships now include more than 500,000 hotspots around the world, including 500 airports, 30,000 hotels, and many other locations. The VoIP company has partnered with eight international Wi-Fi providers, according to Mashable:
- BT Openzone – The largest Wi-Fi hotspot provider in the UK.
- Fon – This is billed as the "world's largest Wi-Fi network."
- M3 Connect – Major German Wi-Fi provider.
- Row 44 – An in-flight broadband platform that serves many international flights.
- Skyrove – A hotspot provider in South Africa.
- Spectrum Interactive – A Wi-Fi provider in the UK with a focus on the travel and media sector.
- Tomizone – A Wi-Fi provider in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.
- Vex – A South African Wi-Fi provider.
The service allows Skype users to pay for Wi-Fi hotspot access using Skype Credit on a per minute basis (prices range from $0.05 to $0.19). Skype introduced the program in January 2009 and has slowly expanded it over time, though this announcement is probably the biggest. Skype Access requires you to use the latest version of Skype for Windows or Mac.