Skype lands Wi-Fi access deal in Europe

Agreement will let Skype users in Europe access VoIP whenever they're in range of a Cloud hot spot.

Skype's Internet calling service will soon be accessible at the Cloud's Wi-Fi hot spots across Europe, according to the two companies.

Although normal online access to Skype's voice over Internet Protocol services is free to those connecting via PC, access to the Cloud's Wi-Fi network will require the use of a Skype-enabled phone from SMC Networks and a monthly payment of about $13 (6.99 pounds).

Niall Murphy, the Cloud's chief technology officer, said Tuesday that the deal "marks the start of a real low-cost alternative to traditional telecoms services."

The service will launch in the U.K. this month and spread to other European countries by the end of the year. The Cloud operates more than 8,500 hot spots across Europe.

At the moment, the only handset capable of being used in the service is the SMCWSKP100 model, which costs about $277. But a Cloud representative confirmed to ZDNet UK that the company is "actively working with handset and other types of device providers to ensure these products work well in the public Wi-Fi environment."

Wi-Fi hot spots are available in retail outlets, hotels and airports. The Cloud has also started adding outdoor hot spots in nine cities across the U.K.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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