A new online file hosting service offers the stiffest competition yet to existing services of its kind.

In common with many similar services, MediaFire offers free file hosting to users. What's unusual about the service is that the company imposes no restriction on bandwidth use or file sizes.

This means a user can upload as many Gigabytes of data to their password-protected user account as they desire.

There's no limit on the number of uploads, and users can maintain multiple simultaneous uploads.

Apple's .Mac service offers a standard 1GB of disc space and limits bandwidth use.

The MediaFire service offers users who have uploaded files links to the data, so they can share it with others by email of arrange for it to be included as part of a blog or MySpace site.

Downloading is also free, lacks a bandwidth limit, and is unlimited.

The trial version of the service launched just five days ago. The developers are currently recruiting voluntary help to track down any existing bugs.

Users of free file-hosting services should beware of uploading confidential data. They should also maintain backups of uploaded data on a local basis, in case the file services go out of business or the servers fail.