Skype has announced that its users will be able to connect to more than half a million Wi-Fi hotspots while on the move, thanks to new partner agreements.
The hotspot service, called Skype Access, will provide global pay-as-you-go (PAYG) internet usage for 4p per minute. Partners include: BT Openzone, Fon, Spectrum Interactive, M3 Connect, Row 44, Skyrove, Tomizone and Vex.
"With one click, Skype users can connect to the internet through a Wi-Fi operator partner in over 500,000 hotspots around the globe including 500 airports, 30,000 hotels and numerous cafés, trains, planes, offices buildings, and convention centres," the company said in a statement.
Skype says that the partnership program will provide Wi-Fi operators with access to its 145 million-strong community of Skype users, as well as allowing them to generate extra revenue from users that would rather use a PAYG service.
In order to use the compatible hotspots, users will need an up-to-date version of Skype for Mac or Windows and credit on the account.
The company also said at Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona on Sunday that it will offer free hotspot access to the whole of Spain between the 14 February and the 18 February.
In competition with Skype's paid-for hotspot facility, mobile operator O2 announced on 26 January that will take on rival hotspot providers such as BT Openzone and The Cloud with its plans to launch a nationwide network of free wireless hotspots. The company said that the service will be free regardless of whether the user is an O2 customer or not.
O2's announcement was followed closely by news that media company BSkyB had purchased Wi-Fi provider The Cloud in order to strengthen its multimedia content delivery network.