From Mobile World Congress, Skype is introducing two new partner programs and offering free WiFi across Spain through Feb. 18.
Skype announced two new programs from the Mobile
World Congress event in Barcelona this Valentine's Day, as well as sent
out some love, with the limited offer of free Internet access across
midnight Central European Time on Feb. 18, WiFi Internet connectivity is
free through Skype Access-normally a pay-as-you go plan that lets
users pay with Skype Credit to hop online via a hotspot.
announced at the show that is has launched a partner program for WiFi
hotspot operators around the globe-including BT Openzone, Fon,
Tomizone, Row 44 and Vex-extending the number hotspots it makes
available to users. Thanks to these partners, Skype users now have
WiFi-based Internet access available to them in more than 500,000
locations, including 500 airports, 30,000 hotels and a number of trains,
planes, offices, cafes and convention centers.
of hourly or date rates, Skype Access users pay by the minute, starting
at $0.06. All that's required is a Skype Access hotspot, some Skype
Credit and the newest version of Skype for Mac or Windows.
program additionally benefits the mobile operators, setting them up for
a bit of extra cash and offering access to Skype's hordes of online
users, which now number around 145 million folks per month, according to
mobile operators in markets with low 3G broadband penetration, Skype has
also launched a Mobile Partner Program that lets the carriers extend
the use of Skype to their customers. A client/server solution, it lets
the carrier's customers place free Skype-to-Skype calls or discounted
Skype-to-mobile and Skype-to-landline calls on more than 100 smartphones
and feature phones and a variety of operating systems.
see a growing demand for differentiated services from mobile operators
across the world," Russ Shaw, vice president and general manager of Mobile at Skype, said in a
statement. "Our mobile operator program will give operators in emerging
markets the possibility to tap into the global Skype community while
providing a great user experience on a variety of mobile handsets."
use of Mobile voice-over IP (VOIP) technology, like that used by Skype,
as well as Fring and Google, among others, is expected to rise to
nearly 139 million users by 2014
according to a Feb. 2 report from In-Stat. While mobile operators have
generally been slow to embrace the technology-fearing for their bottom
lines, as calls are diverted from their cellular networks-InStat
expects operators to be a major driver of mobile VOIP's growth, as they
figure out more comfortable methods of embracing the technology.
expected to spur the technology's growth will be its increased use by
enterprise workers-who can video conference from their smartphones and
use them as extensions of their deskphones-and its tie to social
becomes further incorporated into [mobile applications], specifically
social networking apps, the real of potential use is expected to
broaden," In-Stat analyst Amy Cravens said in the report.