Recently, one of our customers asked us to list the reasons why our roaming Internet access service, TAS, is superior to Skype Access. Several good reasons exist, but the best Wi-Fi roaming solution is to have both. Here’s why:
Although Skype Access has been around for more than a year, it’s suprising how few Skype users know about it. But if you look on your Skype client’s Tools menu, there it is. Clicking on it will tell you whether you’re in range of a Skype-supported hotspot. If so, you can connect to it for 14 eurocents per minute, about $.19.
Skype claims access to more than 200,000 hotspots worldwide, although it doesn’t provide a directory. We guess what a user is supposed to do is to try to find a hotspot when faced with no alternative, or one that is more expensive, such as those locations with minimum daily charges.
Still, that can be pretty convenient for folks who have been relying on finding free Wi-Fi, or who have been resigned to paying those high fees. But is it better than our roaming Internet access service, TAS, which is based on the iPass Connect service?
Here are nine reasons why we believe TAS is superior. After you read them, we’ll suggest how using both services is best.
1. TAS is less expensive in some areas. Skype Access charges €.14 per minute worldwide. This is slightly more than $.19 per minute, or $11.46 per hour. With our new regional rates, effective in February, some regions will be less expensive than $11.46 an hour. For example, North America’s hourly TAS rate is $9.42. TAS is also charged per minute in most cases. The Asia/Pacific rate is also $9.42, and the rate in Japan is $6.28.
2. TAS is available more ways. Skype claims to have about 200,000 wireless hotspots worldwide, but TAS not only has 260,000 wireless hotspots, but also 30,000 dial-up connections (which are particularly useful in developing countries). In addition, it also has wired broadband connections.
3. TAS provides access inflight on many airlines for flights over the United States. Participating airlines include Air Canada, AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, United, US Airways and Virgin America.
4. TAS provides access to tens of thousands of free wireless sites through the TAS client.
5. It’s easier to find where hotspots are available. While Skype Access lists the carriers that support their service on their Website, it does not list the locations where the service is available. iPass, on which TAS is based, has a hotspot finder on its site, and locations are also listed in the TAS client software.
6. TAS has better worldwide availability. Skype Access is based on the Boingo wireless service. Boingo does offer a site locator on its site, for 9998, not 200,000 sites. Of these, only approximately 62 are available in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa).
7. TAS billing is more compatible with existing accounting systems.Skype Access for a business is done though Skype Manager. This is an online service where a manager must register users’ accounts and upload credit to a pool for use by the users. In contrast, TAS sends organizations one monthly bill in either print or electronic form, and we will customize the bill to include relevant accounting codes for an organization.
8. TAS does not require that you pay in advance. Skype Access requires that funds be deposited into Skype Credit before calls are made. TAS bills you after the calls are made. This also means there is no danger of credit running out when users need it.
9. TAS provides 24/7/365 telephone support to end users. If a user has a problem, help is only a phone call away. Available at all times, our support also can be reached by email and instant messenger.
With all these good reasons, you may be surprised that we recommend both, rather than just our solution. The reasons are simple. While TAS is cheaper in some areas, Skype Access is cheaper in others. Also, while both services have more than 200,000 access points, there are sure to be situations, going both ways, where one service provides access where the other doesn’t.
TAS and Skype have one big thing in common. Our charges are based on usage. This means you can keep both clients in your laptop, and neither costs you anything until you use it. Then, when the need arises, you can pick the most appropriate one for your situation.