AOL is planning a European revival this week, kicking off tomorrow in the UK with a free Internet service developed to compete with Dixons' Freeserve and other “copy-cat” services.
Joint venture AOL and Bertlesmann will send Netscape Online “free” in the UK live tomorrow morning. The service will include free Internet access plus access to Netscape Communicator 4.0, which will enable consumers to search the Web using Netscape Navigator.
On Thursday of this week AOL will roll out plans for Germany, including a flat monthly rate for unlimited Internet access targetted at undercutting market heavyweight Deutsche Telekom.
This will be followed by Netscape Online starting in other European countries, according to sources close to AOL. This is likely to debut with Germany and France.
A spokesperson for AOL confirmed it is planning a “massive campaign” in Europe to ensure its place as the market leader, starting with free Netscape Online which will be downloadable from tomorrow.
AOL has been a runaway success in the US with over 20 million subscribers. In Europe, however, AOL’s onslaught was caught off-guard with Dixons Freeserve model hobbling its growth and usurping it as market leader in the UK.
As part of its European strategy, codenamed Operation Jump, AOL has decided to introduce an across the board strategy in Europe. Up until now AOL has run its operations in Europe pretty much as country independent business units.
Netscape Online will provide consumers with unlimited email addresses, 20Mbyte free Web space, Instant Messenger for instant chat and content including news, weather, shopping and sport. Technical support will be offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, charged at a premium rate of 50p per minute.
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