VoIP provider Skype has set up a public wifi network in the UK and Ireland in a bid to diversify its offering. The firm, acquired by Microsoft in 2011, has teamed up with wifi solutions provider Wicoms to roll out a service called Free Skype WiFi in UK high streets. The service enables shopping malls, retailers and other businesses to deliver public internet access to customers free of charge.
Free Skype WiFi will allow Skype users to log in to any participating wifi location with their Skype ID using the Skype WiFi app. Users will be able to browse the web, engage with social media, access and send emails, shop, compare prices and download special deals from participating high street retailers.
Skype’s offering is launched on the back of recent YouGov survey conducted by Wicoms which revealed that 52 per cent of people who had used public wifi hotspots whilst out shopping said that the experience is generally poor. Over 50 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds also said they would be more likely to buy something from a store if the store was able to send a discount or voucher to their phone when they entered.
The service is available for businesses and venues through a number of different packages starting from £9.99 per month, plus a router costing £49.