America Online, Inc. began the rollout of the AOL Internet Phone Service, an enhanced Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service that offers AOL members a choice for their voice, e-mail and instant messaging communications.
The service is being introduced in more than 40 markets across the United States, the first phase of a rollout across the country that will continue to additional cities over the coming months. The company says that the service will offer cost-saving pricing over traditional telephone service and an enhanced suite of integrated voice and online messaging features.
For the AOL Internet Phone Service alone, AOL members can choose from three price plans with introductory offer rates. A Local Plan is available, costing US$13.99 per month for the first three months for unlimited local and regional calls and US$0.04 per minute for long distance calls anywhere in the US and Canada, costing US18.99 per month thereafter.
An Unlimited Calling Plan costing US$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) is also available, and the company offers the Global Calling Plan, at US$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 (US$34.99 per month thereafter).
As a limited time offer in conjunction with the first phase of the rollout of the new service, America Online is giving current AOL members who sign up a free wireless home network base station.
AOL Internet Phone Service transforms an existing high-speed Internet connection into a voice and data service with enhanced features. AOL expects to enable users to make and receive local, long distance and international phone calls at a lower cost than traditional land line phone services.
The features include unified voice, e-mail and instant messaging, enhanced voicemail and call management capabilities, online presence awareness, and more. Other functionalities are Call Waiting, Caller ID and Voicemail, and Quick Codes including Basic Call Forwarding (*72/*73), Send Calls to Voicemail (*78/*79), and Cancel Call Waiting (*70).
Users can manage their 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 through through a central Web page.
Additional services like AOL Call Alert, AOLbyPhone and AOL Voicemail are integrated at no additional charge. The system integrates with online presence options, making it possible to indicate how, where, when and whether phone contacts can be reached via instant messages. Full Enhanced 911 (E-911) calling coverage will be supported in all of the markets targeted for the initial rollout of the AOL Internet Phone Service.
The AOL Internet Phone Service is being introduced to consumers in Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Colorado Springs, CO; Columbus, OH; Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Ft. Myers, FL; Hartford-New Haven, CT; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, KS; Lafayette, IN; Laredo, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; Norfolk, VA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA; Seattle-Tacoma, WA; St. Louis, MO; Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL; Tucson, AZ; Washington DC; and West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL.