MSN launches new switch pitch

Coming as the latest lob in Internet service providers' (ISPs') battle over users, Microsoft's MSN network kicked off a promotion Friday that offers to give new broadband and dial-up users a US$50 mail-in rebate after they pay for three consecutive months of service.

The deal, which runs through May, is an apparent bid to get users of America Online (AOL) to switch over to the MSN service, whose user base lags behind that of ISP powerhouse AOL. MSN reported 7.7 million users at the end of January, compared to AOL's 33 million.

MSN is also touting other deals meant to lure new users, such as offering new broadband customers free activation and a free installation kit, including a DSL modem, when they sign up for a year of service. MSN Broadband costs from $39.95 to $49.95 a month. New broadband users who do not want to make the one-year term commitment can also chose to receive a free installation kit, including the DSL modem, for an activation fee of $99, MSN said.

Microsoft said that it will be pushing its promotions through print, television and online advertisements.

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