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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

AOL Europe Confident

HAMBURG, Germany -- AOL Europe said Friday its free Internet service in Britain is in position to surge past rival Freeserve PLC in advertising and electronic-commerce revenue as soon as it launches next week.

"We already have more revenue lined up than Freeserve generated in its first year," AOL Europe chief executive Andreas Schmidt said in an interview.

The new service, called Netscape Online, will start operations Tuesday and, like Freeserve, will charge no monthly fee, leaving users to pay only for the local phone calls for the time they are logged on.

From its start last September to May 1, Freeserve generated pounds 2.73 million ($4.4 million) in advertising and e-commerce revenue.

Netscape Online already has contracts with advertising and electronic commerce partners that are "more than that, by a wide margin," Schmidt said.

Freeserve shook the British market when it introduced the "free" access concept and shot ahead of AOL in registered users, becoming Britain's largest Internet service provider in only a matter of months.