AOL Raises Monthly Fee

DULLES, Va. — America Online, as widely anticipated, said it will raise its monthly fee on unlimited service by $1.95, marking the first increase in three years.

The unit of AOL Time Warner Inc. (AOL) said it will raise the monthly price for unlimited AOL service to $23.90 from $21.95 beginning in the July billing cycle. The last time AOL increased the price of unlimited service was April 1998.

AOL, the world’s most popular online service, has previously shown that users will stick with the service even if they have to pay more.

When the company last increased its rates — from the industry standard at the time of $19.95 — competitors were largely unsuccessful in stealing customers away. Then, the company had about 11 million members; it now boasts more than 29 million members world-wide.

The company said Tuesday that the “modest” price increase will help fund continued improvements in the AOL service. AOL said its other pricing plans won’t be affected by the change.

AOL first announced flat-rate pricing in late 1996. Copyright (c) 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.