French ISP market to go freebie mad

France Telecom to push new flat-rate tariff structure

France Telecom is to offer new tariffs to its customers, in a move that could restructure the French ISP landscape. One of the suggested models is a subscription free, flat-rate call charge, of 28 centimes/minute, including tax. This would match the current peak rate cost, but include free access to an ISP. France Telecom says that it will suit lighter Internet users. France Telecom's own ISP, Wandoo, currently charges 75 Francs per month plus between seven and 28 centimes/minute for access to the Internet. Although free Internet access has been a reality in France since April, the new model would allow France Telecom to offer kickbacks to ISPs, which is not familiar practice at present. Industry watchers say that the plan would drive growth in the free Internet access market, as it did in the UK. France Telecom moans that it is losing money on discounted calls directed through third parties, such as Colt or UUNet. The new tariff would make it harder for other carriers to make money linking subscribers to their ISP's, and conversely, stop France Telecom losing money. The company said that its hardware upgrades have made it possible for it to offer new tariffs to the public, as it can now direct calls more efficiently. ® Daily Net finance news from The Register

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