RealTime IT News

MCI Latest to Don Monthly Usage Cap

MCI Corp. has changed the rules for customers of its unlimited access Internet services, and will now restrict flat-rate users to 150 hours of online time per month.

MCI said today the new changes will also affect the online service the company provides with Yahoo! Online.

The move follows a similar strategic shift made by AT&T WorldNet in March when the Internet service announced plans to restrict its unlimited access pricing plan to 150 hours of access per month for $19.95.

When asked if the new Internet pricing strategy was connected in any way to MCI's purported plans to sell off its Internet division as reported in Tuesday's New York Times, MCI spokesperson Kelly Seacrist told InternetNews.com the move was unrelated.

According to Seacrist, the time limit was instituted as of this past Monday. Clock crunching is slated to begin for new customers as of August 1, and will take effect for pre-existing customers beginning in July. All customers will be served notice of these changes through e-mail and on billing statements.

"We looked into usage patterns and customer needs," said Seacrist. "We want to be able to support the growth we're expecting while maintaining service."

While Seacrist declined to cite the number of MCI and Yahoo! Online users, she said it represented 3% of MCI's total customer base.

A $14.95 monthly flat-rate fee for MCI Internet and Yahoo! Online covers the first 3 months of usage, and applies only to customers who also use MCI as a long-distance carrier. After the 150 online hours per month limit, users will have to pay $.99 per hour. Customers who choose to use another long-distance service are charged $19.95 per month.