WIRELESS NETWORK PROVIDER Wicoms and Skype are rolling out a free WiFi network in the UK.
Businesses will have to pay to offer the service, they explained, but will be able to turn it around and offer it to their customers for free. They claim it will be simple to use and safe.
The service is pitched at Skype users and they will be able to log into the service with a Skype WiFi app and their Skype ID. It will use Wicoms' wireless network.
"Simplicity is at the heart of everything Skype does. We believe that internet access should be available to everyone in a simple and affordable way," said Shadi Mahassel, programme manager for Skype Access.
"Our partnership with Wicoms enhances our ability to make Skype universally accessible and expands on our WiFi strategy, which today provides paid WiFi access at over one million locations worldwide."
The firms imagine that businesses will sign up for the service so they can provide WiFi to customers that want to do things like compare prices online. It is also possible that punters might respond favourably to vouchers sent over the wireless connection, at least according to a survey that Wicoms has seen.
"We're helping brick and mortar retailers effectively compete with online retailers," said Owen Geddes, MD of Wicoms. "By working with a globally trusted partner like Skype to provide Free Skype WiFi on-premise, business owners and high street retailers can open a dialogue with potential customers and encourage sales conversion with the power of the mobile phone."
Businesses can buy into the service from £9.99 a month. They'll also have to buy a router for £49. As a sweetener Wicoms is offering businesses that sign up a connection and a router for free during the month of October. µ