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AT&T, Lycos unwrap Web service

The two companies officially introduce their joint Web service, offering Internet access with a portal as a default home page.

AT&T WorldNet and Lycos today officially introduced their joint Web service, offering Internet access with the portal as a default home page.

Trumpeted under the somewhat cumbersome name of "Lycos Online Powered by AT&T WorldNet Service," the service will debut at a promotional monthly price of $12.95 for the first three months and then will be raised to $19.95. The service also will be limited to 150 hours a month and will charge 99 cents for each hour beyond that.

This is not the first release of a cobranded product by the two companies. After plans for the service were announced in April, the companies launched an AT&T Communication Center service on Lycos, a cobranded site that sold telecommunications services such as long distance plans, wireless connections, and calling cards.

Today's launch comes about a month after AT&T WorldNet formally launched its service bundled with Excite, a competitor of Lycos. The telecommunications giant also had signed a deal with Infoseek to provide an almost identical package but has yet to begin that one. Yahoo was the first high-profile portal to partner with a Net access provider when it partnered with MCI Communications in March.

The spate of deals between access providers and Internet portals were designed as win-win relationships that gave each partner what they needed to compete with the likes of America Online. In essence, these services are following AOL's highly successful model of packaging Internet access, information, e-commerce links, and community features.