Feeds

AOL demands flat fees for Germany

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

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.