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Wi-Fi provider pitches Skype users

Boingo touts $8-a-month unlimited call plan

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US Wi-Fi hotspot aggregator Boingo will today hop on the Skype bandwagon and begin promoting its wireless Internet access sites as VoIP locations.

Under the SkypeZones brand, Boingo will offer Skype users unlimited wireless access for Skype calls for $8 a month, though the company warns that this may change when the service moves out of beta testing and into commercial operation.

That price is significantly lower than Boingo's unlimited data service, which comes in at $22 a month. Undoubtedly, the company will block attempts by SkypeZones users to craftily check their email while logged on as a Skype user.

The scheme also looks forward to the time when there are rather more Skype-enabled handsets in circulation, either as regular mobile phones will built-in Wi-Fi, or as dedicated wireless Skype units.

Boingo is not the first Wi-Fi firm to tout Skype users for business. In March, UK public Internet access provider Broadreach began offering Skype calls via its network of 350 ReadyToSurf hotspot locations. Unlike Boingo, Broadreach doesn't charge for the privilege.

The SkypeZones package operates across all 18,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the Boingo network, and is available immediately, Boingo said. Users who just want to make ad hoc connections can buy two hours' access for $3. ®

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