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Skype Pairs With Boingo-Only The Tip Of The Iceberg

When Telsym went under Boingo was without a partner.

In Skype they get a large user base, and a workable technology that gives them Voice today, not in the future.

The deal strikes me overall as logical, but for those already on Boingo, it means nothing, if they already have Skype unless it becomes a required additional cost. For those who just want to chat, have voice calls and share files, it's a cheap way of making calls and for under $8.00 a month before in/out/voice mail, it seems to place Boingo at the front line of WiFi phone service and sets a new low water mark in pricing for some type of "conditional" access. Add-in $21.95 a month and for $30 buckos you get Voice and WiFi in 18,000 or so locations and climbing.

Clearly this also puts the pressure on T-Mobile and SBC to come up with a softphone offering that works with their hot spots. My suspicion is that Yahoo will be the player with SBC, who has a big push coming with their Freedom Link service, while I suspect T-Mobile and AOL are the logical partners due to lifestyle orientations and marketing approach similarities, but that's just a guess.

On the other hand with Earthlink moving into the same PC2PC phone space it seems to question how strong the relationship between Boingo and they are, or makes one wonder if something more is brewing between Skype, Earthlink, Boingo and the new SK-Earthlink play that has broader, deeper and more integrated implications.