September 20, 2005 10:04 AM PDT

AOL, Microsoft prep dueling VoIP efforts

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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, which includes telecom giants such as SBC Communications, as well as start-up Skype, which is set to be 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.

The service will also include call waiting, caller ID, three-way calling and voice mail integrated with e-mail, AOL said.

Qwest plans to bolster its Internet phone service, OneFlex, with Microsoft's Solution for Enhanced VoIP. The companies will integrate VoIP with e-mail, instant messaging, collaboration and desktop services.

"We'll be able to provide (small and medium-size businesses) with powerful yet easy-to-use telephony and desktop capabilities," Tom Richards, executive vice president of Qwest's business markets group, said in a statement.

The suite of services will be packaged under Qwest's OneFlex VoIP service. The companies expect the service to be available sometime next year.

12 comments

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AOL prices misleading (fine print)
I read about AOL's service a while back and AFAIK they sell a plan for $18.99 but they also require that you are an AOL broadband user.

This means that you bring your own broadband carrier and pay an extra $10/month for AOL services + $19 for VoIP.

So the actual price for a random user wanting the service is actually $29 for about the same package Vonage has been selling for months for only $15.

Their basic "unlimited" plan runs for $40, compared to $25 for Vonage.

It is cool to see a big company like AOL enter the market, but not exactly groundbreaking due to the largely unpopular AOL for broadband requirement.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL prices misleading (fine print)
I read about AOL's service a while back and AFAIK they sell a plan for $18.99 but they also require that you are an AOL broadband user.

This means that you bring your own broadband carrier and pay an extra $10/month for AOL services + $19 for VoIP.

So the actual price for a random user wanting the service is actually $29 for about the same package Vonage has been selling for months for only $15.

Their basic "unlimited" plan runs for $40, compared to $25 for Vonage.

It is cool to see a big company like AOL enter the market, but not exactly groundbreaking due to the largely unpopular AOL for broadband requirement.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL prices misleading (fine print)
I read about AOL's service a while back and AFAIK they sell a plan for $18.99 but they also require that you are an AOL broadband user.

This means that you bring your own broadband carrier and pay an extra $10/month for AOL services + $19 for VoIP.

So the actual price for a random user wanting the service is actually $29 for about the same package Vonage has been selling for months for only $15.

Their basic "unlimited" plan runs for $40, compared to $25 for Vonage.

It is cool to see a big company like AOL enter the market, but not exactly groundbreaking due to the largely unpopular AOL for broadband requirement.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL prices misleading (fine print)
I read about AOL's service a while back and AFAIK they sell a plan for $18.99 but they also require that you are an AOL broadband user.

This means that you bring your own broadband carrier and pay an extra $10/month for AOL services + $19 for VoIP.

So the actual price for a random user wanting the service is actually $29 for about the same package Vonage has been selling for months for only $15.

Their basic "unlimited" plan runs for $40, compared to $25 for Vonage.

It is cool to see a big company like AOL enter the market, but not exactly groundbreaking due to the largely unpopular AOL for broadband requirement.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
VOIP = MS + AOL merger rumors?
NOW we know WHY Microsith is planning to assimulate AOL
from Time Warner... VOIP!
MSN-AOL-VOIP Internet communications monopoly in the
making.

Don't EVEN think of talking on the phone via the Internet without
paying the GATEkeepers Citizen Gates & Big Brother Ballimer.
Resistance is futile, mere mortals, prepare to be assimulated into
the vast Remond Collective Borg.

I pray that I am SO wrong...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
VOIP = MS + AOL merger rumors?
NOW we know WHY Microsith is planning to assimulate AOL
from Time Warner... VOIP!
MSN-AOL-VOIP Internet communications monopoly in the
making.

Don't EVEN think of talking on the phone via the Internet without
paying the GATEkeepers Citizen Gates & Big Brother Ballimer.
Resistance is futile, mere mortals, prepare to be assimulated into
the vast Remond Collective Borg.

I pray that I am SO wrong...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
VOIP = MS + AOL merger rumors?
NOW we know WHY Microsith is planning to assimulate AOL
from Time Warner... VOIP!
MSN-AOL-VOIP Internet communications monopoly in the
making.

Don't EVEN think of talking on the phone via the Internet without
paying the GATEkeepers Citizen Gates & Big Brother Ballimer.
Resistance is futile, mere mortals, prepare to be assimulated into
the vast Remond Collective Borg.

I pray that I am SO wrong...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
VOIP = MS + AOL merger rumors?
NOW we know WHY Microsith is planning to assimulate AOL
from Time Warner... VOIP!
MSN-AOL-VOIP Internet communications monopoly in the
making.

Don't EVEN think of talking on the phone via the Internet without
paying the GATEkeepers Citizen Gates & Big Brother Ballimer.
Resistance is futile, mere mortals, prepare to be assimulated into
the vast Remond Collective Borg.

I pray that I am SO wrong...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting MS choice...
Qwest has been an absolute disaster as a baby bell. Assets have
been squandered, income lost, equipment is obsolete, and
management is incompetent. Maybe that's how MS got their foot in
the door.

That's roughly like winning a cruise on a garbage scow, but maybe
MS wouldn't really notice.....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting MS choice...
Qwest has been an absolute disaster as a baby bell. Assets have
been squandered, income lost, equipment is obsolete, and
management is incompetent. Maybe that's how MS got their foot in
the door.

That's roughly like winning a cruise on a garbage scow, but maybe
MS wouldn't really notice.....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting MS choice...
Qwest has been an absolute disaster as a baby bell. Assets have
been squandered, income lost, equipment is obsolete, and
management is incompetent. Maybe that's how MS got their foot in
the door.

That's roughly like winning a cruise on a garbage scow, but maybe
MS wouldn't really notice.....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting MS choice...
Qwest has been an absolute disaster as a baby bell. Assets have
been squandered, income lost, equipment is obsolete, and
management is incompetent. Maybe that's how MS got their foot in
the door.

That's roughly like winning a cruise on a garbage scow, but maybe
MS wouldn't really notice.....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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