AOL Raises Monthly Charge for Mobile Service by 50 Percent

America Online, Inc., is raising the monthly price of its AOL Mobile Communicator service by $10 to $29.95 while at the same time slashing the cost of the two-way mobile device from $329 to $99.95. The company also has enhanced the software running the device to include faster display of e-mail messages, time and date stamps on instant messages, more customization of “away notices,” easier navigation and keyboard shortcuts, and better indication of low coverage areas.

In addition, for subscribers who want to be able to access their online accounts from another point in the home, the AOL Mobile Communicator allows two screen names to be signed on to an AOL account from different devices at the same time. The mobile service also offers special, member-selected safety controls, including the ability to set an additional password that is different from the password required to sign on to the AOL desktop service.

“Every day, AOL’s 30 million members send up to 650 million instant messages and 225 million e-mails. Now, those members want to expand the medium’s role in their lives even further with the kind of anytime, anywhere access that the AOL Mobile Communicator and other ‘AOL Anywhere’ devices provide,” said Lisa Hook, president of the Dulles, Va.-based AOL Mobile.

The company did not disclose the number of its mobile customers but did say as many as 44 percent of AOL members access their accounts while away from home.

Manufactured by Research in Motion, based in Waterloo, Ontario, the AOL Mobile Communicator weighs 4.1 ounces, features a six-line display with a back-light option, a time and date display, and several choices of tone alerts. The device runs on Cingular’s nationwide wireless data network.

AOL members can use the product with their existing AOL screen name, and the monthly service fee offers unlimited wireless access to AOL’s e-mail and instant messaging features.

AOL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner .

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