AOL Offering Subscription-Free Internet Service in Britain

Upon launching its new Internet service called Netscape Online in Britain, AOL Europe made headlines when it warned its rivals to be aware of the new competition caused by the new, subscription-free online product.

AOL Europe is a joint venture between America Online Inc. and Germany's Bertelsmann AG. The new launch competes against Freeserve Plc-Britain's market leader-and around 200 other, smaller Internet services.

AOL, who posted full-page advertisements in leading British newspapers, hopes to make up for lost ground after Freeserve began offering Internet access with no monthly free in Britain. AOL leads the U.S. market with 20 million subscribers, and would like to capitalize on that success by marketing its services in Europe with a strategy tailored to different countries.

With the free service, Netscape Online users will not pay for Internet access, but will pay for local phone charges while online.

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