AOL Kicks Off VoIP Rollout

America Online Inc. began launching voice-over-Internet-protocol service in more than 40 markets across the United States Thursday.

The giant Internet-service provider said it will continue launching VoIP in additional cities over the coming months.

New AOL customers are being offered a special introductory rate of $29.99 per month for the first six months for “AOL Internet Phone Service” and AOL’s Internet service. The offer includes unlimited local and long-distance calling within the United States and Canada, plus unlimited access to the AOL service over a broadband connection.

At the end of six months, the monthly price of the package will rise to $39.99.

Customers who only want AOL Internet Phone Service can choose from three packages: “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 United States and Canada ($18.99 thereafter); “Unlimited Calling Plan,” $24.99 for the first three months for one flat fee for local and long-distance calls within the United States and Canada ($29.99 thereafter); and “Global Calling Plan,” $29.99 for the first three months, including unlimited local and long-distance calls within the United States and Canada and low international rates ($34.99 thereafter).

“The AOL Internet Phone Service will uniquely combine advanced tools, competitive pricing plans and AOL's hallmark ease of use to allow mass-market consumers to take full advantage of the revolution under way in Internet-voice technology,” AOL chairman and CEO Jon Miller said in a prepared statement.

“Our enhanced suite of features will provide not only cost savings, but also the opportunity to organize, access and direct the full range of online and offline communications -- including voice, e-mail, instant messaging and phone/address book -- with one convenient service,” he added.

The markets where AOL Internet Phone Service launched Thursday are: Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Denver; Detroit; Fort Myers, Fla.; Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Kan.; Lafayette, Ind.; Laredo, Texas; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; Nashville, Tenn.; New York; Norfolk, Va.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif.; Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.; St. Louis; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; Washington, D.C.; and West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla.