AOL Canada and VoIP

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Randy Savicky
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

AOL Canada and VoIP

AOL Canada plans to launch Internet phone service in greater Toronto over the next couple of weeks. This will mark the first time AOL has entered the broadband VoIP market. The company said Tuesday that it plans to offer AOL TotalTalk, a residential VoIP service to all high-speed Internet users, whether or not they are AOL subscribers.

"High-speed Internet access is a commodity in Canada. AOL is focusing on delivering services that leverage broadband to meet relevant consumer needs related to voice, data and video," Craig Wallace, AOL Canada's chief executive, said in a statement.

AOL Canada plans to offer the service for $US16.10 ($19.95 Canadian dollars) during a three-month introductory phase and then to increase it to $US28.20 ($34.95 Canadian dollars) per month. Damn that's pricey! AOL is late to the VoIP party and they want to entire new customers with these kind of prices? Anyway, customers will also be able to do free unlimited subscriber-to-subscriber calling and receive 60 minutes of North American talk time per month.

The service will include the ability to follow me capabilities, voice mail (traditional way and email), and a few other bells and whistles.

My initial thought when I found out about this is "What about the good ole' USA?" Why hasn't AOL launched their VoIP product for the U.S? Well, America Online has been in the testing phase for its VoIP since the summer, said Anne Bentley, an AOL spokeswoman. She declined to estimate when the service will launch in the United States.

Here is the full press AOL Canada VoIP release.
AOL Canada Inc. today announced AOL(R) TotalTalk(TM), a new residential phone service based on VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology. Available to both existing AOL Members and non-members, AOL TotalTalk will give consumers unprecedented control over their communications, at a significantly better value compared to traditional telephone services. AOL TotalTalk will be offered in most parts of the Greater Toronto Area by January 2005, with a national roll out planned in the coming months.

Designed specifically for the Canadian market, AOL TotalTalk works with any residential high-speed Internet connection - including DSL and cable - using a compact, easy-to-install gateway device connected to any standard touch-tone telephone. The service offers unlimited local and member-to-member calling, inclusive long distance minutes in North America and competitive international calling rates, as well as a full suite of standard and enhanced calling features. It also has local number portability and 911 functionality within designated service areas, operator and directory services and a Command Centre self-serve web portal for service personalization and control. Introductory pricing for AOL TotalTalk starts at $19.95 per month, with no upfront fee, commitment period or hidden charges.

"High-speed Internet access is a commodity in Canada. AOL is focusing on delivering services that leverage broadband to meet relevant consumer needs related to voice, data and video," commented Craig Wallace, President and CEO, AOL Canada Inc. "AOL TotalTalk simplifies and enriches telephone service, giving Canadians more control, more features and far better value. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the types of enhanced broadband services that AOL Canada plans to offer in the future."

With the release of AOL TotalTalk, AOL Canada affirms its commitment to transform basic high-speed Internet connections into valuable communication services and experiences. AOL TotalTalk combines the ease of use for which the AOL service is traditionally known, with enhanced phone features enabled by VoIP technology that make for an enriched, all-in-one communications experience.

Examples of the enhanced features enabled by the AOL TotalTalk service include:

Voice Mail Plus: In addition to offering regular voicemail functionality, voice messages are directed to a designated e-mail address. Members can listen to their voice messages on a PC, forward or reply to them via e-mail or archive them for future reference.

Locate Me: Enables a single phone number to ring at up to three different locations, simultaneously or in sequence, to ensure Members are always within reach when needed.

Service Portability: Members can connect to a high-speed connection when travelling and continue to use their TotalTalk service as though they're at home. Service portability ensures Members don't miss calls and reduces expensive mobile phone charges.

Secondary Numbers: Members have the option to select up to two additional phone numbers with area codes corresponding to most major Canadian cities. The addition of Secondary Numbers enables Members to have a "virtual presence" in those cities, while allowing local callers to avoid long distance charges.

"Currently, nearly three quarters of AOL Member usage time on the service is spent communicating. AOL aims to enhance Members' broadband experience by continually evolving existing communication tools, while introducing innovative new voice services such as AOL TotalTalk," said Andrew Zimakas, General Manager, Enhanced Services at AOL Canada. "Telephony is a natural extension for AOL."

AOL Canada is working with Allstream, one of Canada's leading communication solutions providers, to develop the network infrastructure for the TotalTalk service. Infrastructure elements are being delivered on Allstream's carrier-grade, state-of-the-art IP network through the company's network-resident IP telephony solution. This is a feature-rich, turnkey solution that leverages Allstream's professional IT services capabilities to deliver seamless integration within AOL Canada's member services.

Today's announcement by AOL Canada is the first step in an evolutionary voice services strategy. In the future, the company intends to leverage the TotalTalk platform by integrating proprietary functionality from the core AOL service, while incorporating unique, enhanced features from third parties.


Pricing
AOL TotalTalk Optimum Package:
- $19.95 per month for the first three months ($34.95 per month
thereafter)
- Unlimited free subscriber-to-subscriber calling, regardless of
location,
- 60 North American Anytime Minutes included ($0.05/minute each
additional minute) and competitive international long distance
rates.

AOL TotalTalk Optimum Plus Package
- $29.95 per month for the first three months ($44.95 per month
thereafter)
- Unlimited free subscriber-to-subscriber calling, regardless of
location,
- 1,000 North American Anytime Minutes included ($0.05/minute each
additional minute) and competitive international long distance
rates.


Both packages include a broad range of traditional and enhanced telephony features, at no additional cost.(x) Contact AOL Member Services at 877-798-TALK (8255) for more information about ordering AOL TotalTalk.
(x)Extra charges apply for Secondary Numbers.

About AOL Canada Inc.

AOL Canada Inc. is an innovative provider of enhanced online interactive services. The company offers a choice of high speed, dial-up and value-added online experiences, at different price points, to meet the needs of all online Canadians.

AOL Canada's portfolio of online services includes AOL(R) Broadband, dial-up and AOL Max (Internet software for any high-speed connection), Netscape(R) Online, AOL Instant Messenger(TM) (AIM(TM)), and a wealth of exclusive content and community features for the entire family.

AOL Canada is a strategic alliance between America Online, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., the world's leading media and entertainment company, and RBC Royal Bank, the personal and commercial banking division of RBC Financial Group, one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies.



Featured Events