LineOne ditches free Net access

Can't count, won't count

LineOne is to ditch unmetered Net access because the British Net company is losing money.

The ISP and content provider told customers over the weekend that its unmetered 24/7 Net access service would end on September 30.

It will be replaced by a flat-fee off-peak package based on BT SurfTime.

The toll-free service was announced in March as part of a tie-up with discount telephony outfit, Quip!. In return for switching telcos and spending a minimum of £5 a month on voice calls, LineOne said it would offer users toll-free Net access.

However, this has backfired and has angered users who claim they have been stabbed in the back by LineOne.

One Register reader claims that those who complained have had their accounts terminated "without warning or explanation", although this was denied by LineOne spokesman, Martin Jackson, who said the problem was due to a faulty server.

Jackson admitted the company was taking a financial hit on the service but blamed LineOne's decision on users who hogged and abused the service.

The service was unmetered for customers but uncapped for us, he said, putting financial pressure on the company.

Jackson conceded: "We made an assumption about the level of usage but it has been significantly higher than we expected.

"Our usage forecasting was wrong," he said.

The simple explanation for this sorry episode is that LineOne just got its figures wrong and is now paying the price for being innumerate and commercially challenged.

Jackson denied that the offer was merely a short-term marketing scheme to drive punters to sign-up with Quip!.

The phone company started business only at the beginning of the year.

And he also poured cold water over any suggestions that BT - which owns 50 per cent of LineOne and has a major stake in Quip! - exerted any pressure over the move.

No one at Quip! was available for comment today. Quip! CEO, Steve Gandy, is currently on holiday in France.

When The Register called to speak to him on his mobile we were told he had just gone for a dip in the sea. ®

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