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THE CUTTING EDGE

GTE to Offer Group Package for Internet Service

July 19, 1999|JENNIFER OLDHAM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a bid to capture more customers for its Internet unit, GTE announced a package of services targeted at organizations that want to offer branded Internet access to their members.

The service, known as DiaLinx Virtual ISP, is designed for organizations such as alumni associations and fan clubs that want to enhance relationships they have with members, said Jim Delande, senior product marketing manager for DiaLinx remote access.

An organization would pay an initial start-up fee of $10,000 to $15,000 for the service, depending on the number of people using it. The service then would cost $14 to $18 a month per user, based on the volume and number of GTE services used.

GTE Internetworking, GTE's Internet services unit, would provide hardware, software and technical support and would operate the service. The organization could then put its own logo on the CD-ROM software. When users dial into the service, they would see the organization's home page first.

An organization could provide dial-up Internet access to its members for a monthly fee. For technical support, users would have access to an 800 number, which would be answered by someone using the organization's name but be operated by GTE.

Analysts say the offering is part of a larger push by telecom companies nationwide to bundle communications services to attract customers with large numbers of users.

"This is a key revenue-generation opportunity," said Michele Pelino, a senior analyst in the Internet market strategies group at Yankee Group, a Boston-based research firm. "Long-distance is a very competitive market, and people who provide that are looking to diversify the services they offer their customers."

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