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Skype Wi-Fi app gives cheap Wi-Fi abroad, torpedoes data roaming bills

Surfing the Web while travelling got much cheaper today with Skype Wi-Fi -- it connects your iPhone to more than a million hotspots round the world.

Data roaming bills just went bye-bye. Surfing the Web while travelling the world potentially became much cheaper today with the new Skype Wi-Fi app, which lets you connect your iPhone or iPad to more than a million hotspots round the world on the cheap.

The app lets you pay for Wi-Fi on a minute-to-minute basis using credit bought through Skype Access. It's for iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad. The app will work just fine on your iPad but isn't a proper iPad version yet, so it looks mini-sized on the screen.

There's no reason why you can't use it here in Blighty, but the app should really come into its own when you next jet off on business or on your holibobs. It's powered by Wi-Fi service Boingo, which includes more than a million hotspots around the world.

So when you're abroad, with data roaming turned off, and you feel the call of the Web is too overwhelming, you simply fire up the Skype app, connect to a hotspot on the cheap, and you can check email, take a shufti at Facebook, and catch up on the latest gadget news and reviews from your humble servants here at CNET UK.

Hotspots are all over the place, including airports, hotels, and bars and restaurants. You no longer have to faff about entering your card details every time you log on -- even if you can read the instructions, probably written in that there foreign -- and even better, you don't have to fork out for a prepaid chunk of data or time.

Open the app and you'll see a list of Wi-Fi hotspots you can connect to, and how much they'll cost you to log on. Tap the button and you're connected to the Internet.

After 30 minutes you're asked if you want to log off, and automatically logged off if you've forgotten. There's no upper -- or lower -- limit on the amount of time or data you can use, so you can go for a data-hungry day watching YouTube videos in a café, or a surgical strike to grab an address from an email lasting less than a minute.

The app works on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 4.1 or above, and you need a Skype account. Skype WiFi is free from the iTunes App Store. Prices vary by country, but you can check them out on Skype's app page -- Spain, the US and here in Britain all start at 3p per minute but the going rate is about 11p a minute.

Going anywhere nice?