RealTime IT News

BellSouth Targets "AOL Graduates" With Lower Prices

BellSouth today announced a new pricing plan for its BellSouth.net Internet access service, a move that comes as a direct challenge to America Online.

The company said the fee for unlimited monthly Internet access will be lowered to $17.95 for a pre-paid 12-month subscription, which translates to a 10% discount on Bellsouth.net's monthly rate. According to the company, the reduced fee saves consumers $50 a year compared to other ISPs, including AOL which charges $21.95 a month.

The plan will be offered to new as well as existing customers, and applies to standard analog users (up to 56K), and 64K ISDN clients.

The price reduction is part of BellSouth's Internet advertising campaign, "Nothing Comes Between You and the Net," which specifically targets "frustrated" AOL users. The campaign can be viewed online, and compares its service performance, reliability, speed, privacy, and spam protection to AOL's offerings.

"Nearly 70 percent of BellSouth.net's new subscribers switch from competitors' services," said Donna Lachance, vice president of marketing for BellSouth.net services. "We offer greater reliability, stability and the security that we'll be here next year. To get all that for the equivalent of $17.95 per month is a great bargain."

The advertising campaign and price reduction are part of an aggressive strategy by BellSouth to capture market share. The company also redesigned its site to feature an extensive search tool and a tutorial for new members it refers to as "AOL graduates."

BellSouth.net claims over 219,000 customers in 44 markets throughout the Southeast. Other pricing plans besides the yearly $215.40 option include an unlimited access plan for $19.95 a month, and an hourly plan of 10 hours of access a month for $9.95, with each additional hour costing $1.