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February 17, 1999

NOW VIRGIN.NET OFFERS FREE SERVICE

By CBR Staff Writer

Virgin Group Plc has added yet another dimension to the snowballing free UK internet service provider war. Virgin chairman, Richard Branson announced Wednesday that its ISP Virgin Net will become the first quality free service. He also announced a 50m pound investment to give all Virgin Group companies e-commerce capability by the end of the year. The last month has seen a succession of ISPs launching or going free, engaging in constant one-upmanship. Virgin Net will offer a one pound per minute service, with the option to pre-pay 5.99 pounds for monthly help lines calls at a local rate. The service’s 11.99 pounds monthly charge will be dropped for existing users on April 1, with new subscribers invited from May 1. Free ISPs make their money in partnerships with telecom operators, and take a share of call charges made to the services. á

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