The company announced today that it will turn on its digital subscriber line (DSL) service for new customers and give them their high-speed modems for free, in a new promotion that will run until July. Depending on the service provider, that offer could save customers up to several hundred dollars.
The company is following in the footsteps of rival SBC Communications, which offered a similar promotion earlier this year. EarthLink has also offered a similar deal to its new customers, while cable modem service providers have been pushing a limited-time half-off special.
GTE's offer extends only to those customers who take advantage of a new self-install kit available from the company. Any customers who want a technician to come to their home to set up the modem and turn on the service still will have to pay a one-time $80 fee.
Prices for the service itself still will start at $49.95 per month.
All the deals are symptoms of the price wars building in the high-speed Net industry as the market moves gradually toward the mainstream. DSL and cable modem providers are now battling to gain the lion's share of the market while the industry is still young, but fixed wireless offerings from companies such as Sprint and WorldCom are also on their way.
While few expect there to be an outright winner in these technology wars, the companies that can do the best job of attracting millions of subscribers early in the game will do much to shape the way high-speed Net services are used, as well as reaping profits of hundreds of millions of dollars, analysts say.
GTE said today that its own customer base had passed the 100,000 mark, and that the company was on track to have 200,000 subscribers by the end of the year.