Skype which is owned by Microsoft, lead the way towards a unique voice and video calls service, is going to terminate one of its feature which was added few years ago to make it omnipresent particularly for the users that wanted mobility. May 31st is the date on which Skype’s Wi-Fi service is coming to an end. This service allowed the users to have access to Wi-Fi in paid public hotspots by paying a smaller amount of fee as compared to the fee which was charged by the hotspot owner.
The company has already started sending notices to users:
“Skype Wi-Fi service will not be available after the 31st of March. If the application is still installed in your device after the termination date, you won’t be able to use or even find hotspots with it. For more information please visit our FAQ section.”
You can still call any mobile or landline number if you have remaining Skype credit in your account. For further questions and queries about your remaining credit, contact our customer service.
The page linked to it gives the information about the retiring of Skype on a global level so that it can focus its efforts in bringing other great services to the people through their core features. This is the same page that was pointed to me by a Skype spokes person when I wanted to enquire further.
Their main idea on which they want to focus seems to be raising the standards of their premium service which is Skype for business and Microsoft integration oriented services. An app that was originally intended to play the role of core competitor by performing as "Skype teams" however later on the plans were changed and it was named as "Microsoft teams" instead. Additional features like "bot developer" were also added as the idea was to push things and cope with the challenges like Messenger Joneses along with inferior bandwidth versions for markets that are developing. The idea was good however it seems that issues like spam and two factor authentications has been overlooked again, because they still exist.
Now this shouldn’t surprise people too much. Originally known by the name of Skype access, it was launched in the year 2009. The main thought behind it was the applying of wireless internet access. This specific idea was used by Skype and applied the wireless internet access to calls and texts. They also offered the same services which the carriers offered but Skype’s services were free or people had to pay negligible amounts that too with a very smooth system of payment. Currently over two million hotspots are covered by this service around the globe.
In the last few years the Skype Wi-Fi service had gone to hibernation process just like a polar bear with no visible fanfare and also the count on how much people were accessing it was also missing. This added insult to the injury in September last year when Microsoft had to close Skype’s London office. Not only this, the headquarter and also the main engineering site were also closed before the acquisition of Microsoft which affected more than 400 jobs. After such a cut back closure of some services and consolidation was on the cards.
Along with this, the trend in the market has also shifted in the recent times. Skype Wi-Fi is not as important as it used to be in the yesteryears. Nowadays if you are in your country’s parameter s you can easily connect your Smartphone with the laptop by tethering hotspots whenever you need to access internet. If free Wi-Fi isn’t available you can instantly switch to mobile data which has become very fast and cheap than it used to be when Skype Wi-Fi was going through its peak.
When Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion in May 2011, it said that it would be used for business purposes as usual with its internet phone service which was new and popular at the time. Development attention was also put into the WIFI product in the early days. Few months after the acquisition of Microsoft it was rebranded from Skype access to Skype Wi-Fi. After this it was iterated with the addition of some free access services that were added for selected locations.
In 2015 Microsoft gave clear cut signs of launching its own cross platform Wi-Fi service but when someone visited the page where the news was supposed to be, all one could see was a big notice of “coming soon”. It also appears as Microsoft has its Wi-Fi app which can be used to search and use the paid public hotspots utilizing a data plan, even though it seems to be just for PC running windows.
For all those people who used Skype Wi-Fi, 31st march onward the specific feature in the app will not be able to scan and use hotspots. If you are one of those who bought Skype credit to be used for Wi-Fi service, you can now use other Skype services for that remaining credit like calling non Skype numbers.
If you are one of those users who bought credit in their accounts only for Skype Wi-Fi and don’t make other calls then you need to talk to the customer service about the credits and refunding process. Although, there are no clear guarantees about the refunding of credit.