Breathe to launch unmetered offer

Resuscitated ISP aims at monthly fee of £15

Two months after it was saved from the scrap heap by Great Universal Stores, is to launch a new unmetered Internet access service.

Breathe shut down its original unmetered package before Christmas and went into administration with about £50m of debts. Chief executive Shaun Gardener said the new service would be based on British Telecommunications' (quote: BT) Friaco (Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination) package.

"In line with other major players in the market, Breathe intends to launch an unmetered package based around Friaco, utilising existing supplier relationships," said Gardener in a statement released today. "The model will be based on monthly subscription, and Breathe anticipate a monthly charge no greater than £15 per month."

A Breathe spokeswoman said there is no specific launch date, and that the unmetered package will be part of the new business plan being instituted following the ISP's acquisition by GUS.

Breathe's existing telecoms supplier, Affinity Internet Holdings, has said it will resell BT's SurfPort Friaco product to its ISP customers. Other ISPs that have recently launched unmetered packages include Freeserve and AOL UK. (See ZDNet UK's Unmetered Access Guide.)

The ISP's previous unmetered package, Breathe Freely, was introduced last April for a £50 one-off fee. The offer cost the company a lot and was thought to have contributed to its financial collapse.

GUS has said it will probably use Breathe's multi-platform technology and assets, which allow information to be distributed across WAP phones and other access devices, to power the company's Reality remote shopping service.

In January GUS, which owns the Argos retail chain, paid a bargain-basement £1.4m for Breathe, a company once worth more than £100m.

Breathe has 600,000 registered users and generated £1.4m in revenues in the nine months ending 30 September. GUS said the group's losses in the coming financial year will probably reach £7m.

The ISP, founded by Martin Dawes, launched in April with the promise of operating on different platforms such as interactive television and Internet-enabled mobile phones. The company was hurt by the lack of enthusiasm for Net phones and also by difficulties with its unmetered access offering, for which it signed up about 50,000 users.

How can you get online for less? Find out in the Unmetered Access Special.

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