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Freeserve spells end of AOL's UK supremacy

And tomorrow Carphone Warehouse has say. Tiffin time.

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By around teatime tomorrow AOL will no longer be the most popular internet service provider in the UK. With only 500,000 subscribers to its name, it will be overtaken by the Dixons' Freeserve service which has notched up more than 475,000 accounts in the eight weeks since it was launched. With around 8,500 new accounts being added each day, ten times faster than any other UK service provider, Freeserve's growth has been breath taking. It's taken AOL five years to reach its current level of penetration. Freeserve has done it in two months. "These figures are great news," said Mark Danby, Freeserve's general manager. "Not only is Freeserve attracting a huge number of users, we are also growing the UK internet market. By providing a free alternative to subscription services, we have taken the UK internet market into a new era," he said. If the figures are true, and some service providers have been quick to question them, then the 250 or so ISPs currently fighting for their share of the UK market will have to think again. "Everyone will have to take a look at their pricing structures if this growth continues," said a spokeswoman for AOL. Elsewhere, the UK's largest independent retailer of mobile phones, The Carphone Warehouse, is to start selling its range of products over the internet. To be launched on Thursday, The Carphone Warehouse believes it could generate more than £1 million worth of sales within the next 12 months. ®

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