RealTime IT News

MSN UK Goes Free to Stem Losses

Microsoft's online service MSN UK Thursday announced it will offer free access beginning June 8, powered by British Telecom.

The move comes after the user statistics declined from a published figure of 150,000 UK users on January 20 to 125,000 in early April.

"We have been assessing this and watching the dynamics of the market. And following customer research, we know that the major causes of confusion and complaint for free services are unreliability, hidden costs and losing your e-mail address," said Judy Gibbons, director of MSN in the UK.

"We have addressed each of these concerns and believe our new service is strong in all these areas."

MSN FreeWeb will offer free unlimited access to the Internet, with users having to pay only for the local telephone call. Unlike Dixon's Freeserve, the service calls will be free as well -- although whether users will get an instant reply is not yet known.

Other enticements include unlimited e-mail accounts with MSN Hotmail, dubbed "free e-mail for life."

Microsoft Thursday said on MSN UK that MSN Internet access "will remain in place if customers wish to continue paying for the service." Clearly, charity begins at home!