The trend in Europe towards unmetered phoneline access to the internet looks to be unstoppable with the decision, announced yesterday, by AOL Europe to launch flat rate services in German and the UK.

According to AOL Germany chief executive Uwe Hennendorp, its price will be DM78 (€39.88) monthly, undercutting the DM79 rate offered by market-leading rival T-Online, owned by Deutsche Telekom.

AOL UK is less willing to commit itself, saying it will reveal its plans "in a few weeks." Observers believe the company may be waiting to see which way the current price-based battle royal swings before showing its hand.

The British market is in a competitive trumoil, with major players such as Freeserve, Alta Vista and cable network NTL all offering flat rate access and generating an overwhelming consumer response.

News source: Wall Street Journal