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Free Skype WiFi hits Ireland and the UK through Wicoms, steps up the quality of public hotspots

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 2, 2012
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Let's face it: many free WiFi hotspots are tacked on as bullet point items to get customers into a shop or hotel, without much concern for quality high enough that it keeps visitors coming back. Wicoms is hoping that a strategy to offer free Skype WiFi in Ireland and the UK will reverse that neglect. Instead of leaving stores to go through carrier partnerships or devise their own solutions, the partnership has stores pick up a £49 Wicoms router and commit to either a £10 ($16) monthly rate or prepaid brackets of £49 ($79) for six months and £95 ($153) for a year. The aim isn't just to provide a more consistent level of performance -- the Skype deal also provides a ready-made sign-in process, whether or not visitors have Skype accounts, as well as someone to turn to for help. While temptations exist to go with earlier alternatives, Skype and Wicoms are giving away the router during October to help sweeten the pot, even for those outlets that drop the Skype WiFi solution later on. Let's hope the hotspots work well enough on the public-facing side; we could all use a few more shelters from low data caps and oversaturated access points.

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