Wednesday, April 6, 2005

America Online Launches its Consumer Internet Phone Service

America Online rolled out its AOL Internet Phone Service in 40 cities across the U.S., saying the enhanced VoIP service would provide current and new AOL members with an easy-to-use choice for integrating all of their voice, e-mail and instant messaging communications needs.


For the AOL Internet Phone Service alone, current AOL members can choose from three price plans with introductory offer rates:

  • Local Plan: $13.99 per month for the first three months for unlimited local and regional calls and $0.04 per minute for long distance calls anywhere in the US and Canada ($18.99 per month thereafter);


  • Unlimited Calling Plan: $24.99 per month for the first three months for one flat fee for local and long distance calls within the US and Canada ($29.99 per month thereafter); and


  • Global Calling Plan: $29.99 per month for the first three months, including unlimited local and long distance calls within the US and Canada and low international rates ($34.99 per month thereafter).


America Online is giving current AOL members who sign up a free wireless home network base station. America Online is also working with Linksys and NETGEAR for the CPE.


The AOL Internet Phone Service "Dashboard" provides a central Web page to manage account settings, call handling and call forwarding preferences, call logs of incoming and outgoing calls, as well as access contact lists with click-to-dial functionality and their address book.


AOL is providing E-911 service, which delivers a user's address-specific information with the emergency call, using direct trunking to local public safety agencies. However, AOL warns that all 911 calls must be placed from the customer's service address location in order to e routed to the right public safety agency. Also, the VoIP service will not work in the event of a power or broadband outage.


AOL is also featuring Parental Controls for blocking specific in-bound or out-bound calls.


America Online has named Sonus Networks and Level 3 Communications as key technology partners for the VoIP service. America Online has deployed Sonus' GSX9000 Open Services Switch, the Insignus Softswitch and the Sonus Insight Management System. It is also using a customized version of Level 3's consumer-oriented VoIP service.
http://www.aol.com
  • The AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service is currently handling about 2.5 billion messages per day.

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