AOL, Microsoft prep VoIP services

@ 2005/09/20
America Online and Microsoft are both gearing up to launch Internet phone services, the companies announced Tuesday.

AOL plans to launch its TotalTalk Net phone service on Oct. 4. The service will let consumers make and retrieve calls, as well as send and receive e-mail and instant messages, via a PC or home phone when using AOL's AIM Triton client, the company said. The instant-messaging software upgrade will be available later this week.

Meanwhile, Qwest Communications International and Microsoft said they are partnering to enhance VoIP, or voice over Internet Protocol, service for small and midsize businesses.

The companies are the latest players to throw their hat into the increasingly crowded VoIP ring that includes telecom giants such as SBC Communications, as well as start-up Skype, which was recently acquired by eBay.

AOL said its TotalTalk service will include such features as a built-in dial pad for PC-to-phone calls and a telephone terminal adapter, or broadband router, to connect traditional telephones to a cable or DSL modem.

The company plans to sell a local plan with unlimited local calls for $18.99 a month; an unlimited calling plan that includes long-distance calls for $29.99 a month; and an international calling plan that includes unlimited domestic calls and discounts on overseas calls for $34.99 per month.

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