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November 1, 1999

France Telecom Revises ISP Pricing Again

By CBR Staff Writer

France Telecom SA has launched what it calls an all in one consumer internet access price, that bundles telephony costs with subscription charges, the third time the incumbent telco has revised access prices since June. Under the terms of the new deal, users of its Wanadoo internet service provider will be able to pay lump sums of FFr39, FFr99 and FFr159 per month for three, 10 and 18 hours connectivity respectively. There are still less than two million internet users in France, with Wanadoo owning 950,000 of them, but the ISP price war almost as severe as in the UK or Germany.

The difference between æIntegrale WanadooÆ and its August offering ‘Forfait Libre @cces’ (Fixed Price Free Access, in which users pay FFr100 for 20 hours), is that this time subscribers are not restricted to off-peak usage times to use their minutes. At a per-minute rate of approximately 21.6 centimes, 16.5 centimes and 14.7 centimes, the cheapest of the new service levels is almost half as expensive at the prevailing 28 centimes peak-time local tariff.

The service bears a resemblance to that recently offered by the like of AOL UK and NTL Inc in the UK, where a 1 pence per minute dialup rate applies regardless of day and time. Andreas Schmidt, CEO of AOL Europe, one of the few ISPs that still charge a monthly subscription, is very vocal that this type of pricing is a first step toward unmetered internet access, while NTL CEO Barclay Knapp, believes the opposite.

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