Skype To Offer Free Wi-Fi Across The U.K.

This could mean squeaky bum time for existing Internet providers, who face seeing their virtual monopoly on mobile services go up in smoke to the upstart VoIP firm.

Free Wi-Fi access in cafes and shops across Britain is coming, courtesy of Skype. The Microsoft-owned firm, which already offers a paid-for service at airports and in selected businesses, has teamed up with Wicoms to offer free Wi-Fi access in shops and cafes across Britain.


The deal is this: Users need only download Skype’s Wi-Fi app and sign in on their smartphone in a venue that has signed up to the scheme. In turn they need to pay a monthly fee of £9.99 and buy a £49 router–although the router is being thrown in for free until the end of this month. “We belive Internet access should be available to everyone in a simple and affordable way,” said the firm in a statement yesterday. The move is bound to put the frighteners on the existing service providers, who run a near monopoly on Wi-Fi access.

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.