Skype users will be disappointed to learn that Microsoft is delisting its Skype Wi-Fi service by end of this month.
For the unfamiliar, this service enables users to have data connectivity for not only Skype, but also VoIP and video calls on one's mobile device all over the world. The Skype Wi-Fi app, which can be downloaded from the Windows Store, allowed users to stay online at several hotspots around the world. Users simply needed to pay via Skype Credit for the minutes used.
However, come March 31 all that is about to change as Microsoft has announced that it is retiring the Skype Wi-Fi service.
Presently, 2 million Internet hotspots across the world support Skype Wi-Fi service. However, following the end of the service, users may not be able to download the application and if already installed, may not be able to find and use the hotspots.
Why Is Skype Wi-Fi Being Discontinued?
Skype Wi-Fi, which was initially dubbed Skype Access, was released in 2009. Skype Wi-Fi service consolidates various private and public Wi-Fi networks, accommodating both consumers and business users under one payment service. However, the service was restricted only to mobile devices working on Windows, Android and iOS platforms.
The move to retire Skype Wi-Fi is a surprising one and has raised eyebrows. Microsoft, which owns Skype, has revealed the decision behind this move which is not very convincing.
"We're retiring Skype WiFi globally so we can better focus our efforts on bringing you the best possible experience through our core Skype features," notes the Skype support page.
Whether discontinuing the service will indeed help the company is chaneling all its attention on the "core" Skype features remains to be seen.
Incidentally, Microsoft has another service the Microsoft Wi-Fi app, which is exclusive to Windows 10. Whether the Microsoft Wi-Fi app will also be phased out is not known.
One of the reasons behind the decision to discontinue Skype Wi-Fi is possibly be the lack of popularity for the service. Microsoft has not shared figures on the number of users either.
Microsoft acquired Skype in May 2011 for $8.5 billion. However, since the time things have changed. People are gravitating towards other alternatives, especially since mobile data is not only faster, but also cheaper to use.
What Happens To Skype Credit?
The Skype Credit, if already purchased, can be used for other Skype features such as calling mobiles or landlines. However, if you are not willing to use the credit, Skype customer service can be contacted for the refund.