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MSN scraps charges in free access u-turn

Not because it is haemorrhaging members though, oh no

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It appears that the penny has finally dropped at MSN after it announced today that it is to abolish subscription charges for its service in the UK. Finally acknowledging that the market has changed, a spokesman for MSN said the online service and Net access provider was "moving with the times". The decision comes five months after MSN's group marketing manager, Gillian Kent, told The Register that MSN UK "would retain its subscription service come what may." As part of the new service, MSN has joined forces with BT to create MSN FreeWeb. The service is due to go live on 8 June. "With 2.6 million unique visitors using our Internet services every month, customers were telling us that the final piece of the jigsaw was our Internet access business," said Judy Gibbons, director of MSN in the UK. "We have been assessing this and watching the dynamics of the market. And following customer research, we know that the major causes of confusion and complaint for free services are unreliability, hidden costs and losing your email address. "We have addressed each of these concerns and believe our new service is strong in all these areas," she said. It's encouraging to know that MSN's decision has been prompted by their "customer research" and not because membership is falling faster than a fast-falling thing. Nor is MSN UK running scared that it could go the same way as Canada, France and Germany where the great Satan of Net providers has already faced the chop. ®

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