You can now use Skype credit to pay for Wi-Fi access on your iPhone or iPad. The Internet phone giant launched “Skype WiFi” in the Apple store Wednesday, an app that allows you to connect to more than 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world — and only pay for the minutes you use.
Unlike hotspot services such as Boingo (which powers Skype’s mobile Wi-Fi service), which require a day pass or a monthly subscription,Skype Wifi [iTunes link] charges Wi-Fi users by the minute. Access rates start at $0.06 per minute, but may be more depending on the provider. The service has previously been available for laptops under the label “Skype Access.”
Why would anyone want to pay for Internet if they have a mobile phone with a data plan? In a blog post about the new feature, Skype suggests it might be useful for avoiding data roaming charges abroad. We might add that it’s extremely helpful when your iPhone’s 3G signal is weak, and you just want to download that one vital email.
If you find mobile access to pay-per-minute Wi-Fi tempting, you can try the app for free this weekend — August 20 and 21 — for 60 minutes.