01 June 1999

IN RESPONSE TO the torrent of new free internet access services, portal provider AOL UK announced that from June the cost of monthly unlimited-use subscriptions was cut from £16.95 to £9.99, plus the cost of local calls. AOL hopes the offer will attract more subscribers to its service and encourage the bulk of customers - who pay the light user tariff of £4.99 per month - to upgrade. AOL's UK president and man-aging director David Phillips also said that the company is in talks with Oftel and the Department of Trade & Industry in a bid to accelerate regulatory changes to local phone call tariffs. AOL's long-term plans include scrapping the cost of calls and gaining revenue instead from advertising and e-commerce. In a separate move, AOL is conducting low profile trials of its own free service, via discreetly distributed CD-Roms offering 'bundled access' to the net via an 0800 number.