AOL clicks its way into Australia

AOL clicks its way into Australia

AOL Australia's launch last week into the Australian telecommunications market is expected to cause some shakeup in the industry, but according to at least one analyst, customer loyalty to the global service provider is in doubt.

Known in the US as America Online, AOL Australia is targeting the consumer market offering Internet services including e-mail, chat rooms, message boards and local content and information.

John Cookson, chief executive officer, AOL Australia online service, said it aims to become a leading Internet service provider in the Australian market with AOL Australia's network to initially reach 70 per cent of the population. But the network is to be expanded "in response to consumer demand", he said.

But the company might find it difficult to maintain a strong customer base. "[AOL's] success [in America] is based on its historical role and loyalties from times when there was no Internet," said Paul Budde, an independent telecomms consultant.

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