Skype brings per-minute Wi-Fi to iPad and iPhone
Who here remembers mobile dial-up? Great days
iPhone and iPad users can now be charged by the minute for Wi-Fi access, thanks to the expanded Skype Access service which now includes fondle-slabs and Jesus mobes as well as computers.
Skype already offers per-minute access to various Wi-Fi networks around the world, with prices starting at three pence a minute, but that has been limited to Windows and Mac users. Now there's an iOS app allowing everyone to share in the world of per-minute billing.
The service needs iOS 4.1, with multitasking – got to have a background task counting the minutes – and knocks the pennies from the user's Skype credit account at a rate dependent on where in the world the user is (and on whose Wi-Fi network the user is camped).
You won't know the rate until you connect, unless you've a good memory for numbers. Skype will tell you the prevailing rate for each hotspot operator, but those vary widely. In the UK the Skype user will pay 11 pence a minute on a BT Openzone point, but only 8 pence for Fon and the rate drops to 3 pence if you can pick up one of the nine Tomizone hotspots in capital.
Skype reckons that paying by the minute makes more sense when you just want to check email or download the news, and the company makes great play around the lack of data cap. We've not paid by time for mobile data use since the very early days of the mobile internet when dial-up was the model being copied, but if you're already using Skype and need some quick access then perhaps its time to start thinking that way again. ®
13p per min is...
£7.80 per hour.
You can buy a cheaper 3g card that'll last you the month for cheaper. Fail.
I came across this (on a Macbook) by accident at Boston airport. Skype just popped up saying "you can pay for Internet access at this rate, click here".
I didn't have a mobile phone or 3G dongle that would charge at all reasonable rates in the US. And there was no free Wifi. All told, it was very convenient (no extra signup) and pretty good value considering.
Completely useless at home in the UK when I have a phone with data plan and tethering, of course.
Why the hell would you pay by the minute..
..when there's a Muccy D's with free wi-fi on almost every street in the big cities.
I reckon no data cap is right
If they're borrowing bandwidth from openzone and FON then I think the speed is limited to 512Kb/s so I make that about 3p per MB at full speed. You're going to run out of money much more quickly than you can cause any bandwidth issues.
Seems like a brilliant idea
I've never liked the idea of signing up for "1 hour of access" or "24 hours of access" which costs several of my shiny gold coins and expires if you don't use it in time, but if I could just have a quid knocked off my skype credit for 10 or 15 minutes access here and there it seems a much better idea and one I'm likely to actually use. (although not very often really - Android mobile hotspot serves most of my needs)
The worst one was on Anglia trains the other day (National Express now) where they would charge more than I pay for my broadband for a monthly use. They called that a "small fee". B'stards.