Feeds

AOL demands flat fees for Germany

Is there no start to this company's political skills?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

After a dry run in Britain, AOL Europe is taking its political lobbying skills to Germany. The world's biggest ISP wants the German government and public telco Deutsche Telekom to reduce Internet call charges by up to 50 per cent. This would stimulate the German economy by 0.5 per cent and create up to 400,000 jobs, AOL claims. It bases the forecasts on a (self-commissioned) survey on the impacts of flat-fee charges on the country. For once this is not Anglo-Saxon preaching: AOL Europe's chief executive Andreas Schmidt is German, even if he swallows the American capitalist message hook, line and sinker. "The Internet can bestow a second miracle on Germany and in the short term lead to a radical reduction in unemployment," he told Reuters. "The Internet is the job machine of the future." German off-peak connection prices are the second highest in nine major Europe markets, the AOL report found. The company calls on regulators to force Deutsche Telecom to reduce its interconnect charges. It has room to introduce a "40-mark flat-rate fee while boosting average income 30 per cent", AOL Europe spokesman Frank Sarfeld told Reuters. "We're not asking Deutsche Telekom to give away the flat rate for free. They could even make money," he said. Lower charges would mean hugely expanded call usage, according to AOL, which cites its experience in the US, where usage trebled, after it introduced flat fees. Turn that meter off AOL Europe last year threw its weight behind CUT, the UK group which lobbies for unmetered telephone charges. Already in the UK, ISPs are trialling flat rate and free services -- and most of are getting swamped by the huge demand. It is just a matter of time when -- not if -- a monster ISP like AOL goes wholly down the unmetered route (currently it's fee-paying operation offers 1p per minute service in the UK). An unmetered UK telephone networks suits AOL very well. Its fee-based business model is designed for such an environment, while free ISPs living off metered phone charges (such as Freeserve) are a huge irritation, and impediment, to making money. In Germany, Europe's richest and most populous market, there is even more to play for: AOL Europe, a joint venture between AOL and Bertelsmann, has 1.6 million users in Germany, but it ranks far behind Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Online, Europe's biggest indigenous ISP, with more than 3 million users. However, it will take some time for AOL's call for unmetered calls in Germany to take wing: Deutsche Telekom is currently preparing a third wave of privatisation, and the German government is -- so Reuters says -- unlikely to do anything to undermine confidence in advance of the share offering. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.