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Wanadoo trails Tiscali for UK broadband numbers

Race is on for magic million

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Wanadoo UK is slipping down the broadband league tables after revealing it has 904,000 broadband punters.

And with news that Tiscali has 935,000 broadband users in the UK, it means Wanadoo has slipped into fourth place behind DSL providers BT and AOL, which both have more than a million users.

Wanadoo - which used to be called Freeserve but is set to change its name to Orange sometime this year - is now in a race with Tiscali to see which ISP can hit the magic million mark first.

But it won't be easy. Not only are existing rivals breathing down Wanadoo's neck, it also admits it faces increasing pressure from strong new brands, even going as far as naming Carphone's TalkTalk, pay TV outfit Sky, which bought broadband outfit Easynet, and supermarket giant Tesco.

And as competition increases, revenues also face the squeeze as broadband prices are predicted to continue to drop. In a bid to fight back, Wanadoo UK has rejigged its broadband packages to try and tempt punters to sign up to the service including a "starter" package at a penny under £15 a month.

While the ISP is tinkering with its products to sign up new punters, it is also trying to hang on existing ones. One way, it reckons, is with the launch of a broadband TV service.

But it also intends to continue investment in local loop unbundling and, once the Orange makeover is complete, flog its service to Orange punters too as a bundled package.

A spokeswoman for Wanadoo wouldn't be drawn on the ISP's tussle with Tiscali except to say that Wanadoo is "focusing on building a long-term customer base". ®

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