AOL is close to unveiling a free VoIP service called AIM Phoneline. Phoneline will be directly integrated into AOL's instant-messaging client, AIM and will have a free telephone number. Phoneline will offer free incoming calls and will provide outgoing calls for $14.95 a month.
AOL hopes to capitalize on its huge AIM base and hopes to generate revenue through more ads for more users and the monthly fee (if you choose to accept). AOL hopes that it will influence people (teens and young adults especially) to have only a cell phone and Phoneline. They hope that Phoneline will be used as a home phone and the cell phone will be used for all other purposes.
AOL is betting big on this idea and hopes to have enough conversions into this lifestyle to create major ground in their industry that they have lost. If they do then it will create a whole new revenue and a new way of looking at instant messaging.
It seems like a great idea but I think they won't get many conversions into the lifestyle they intend. These conversions, if possible, will take a gradual amount of time that will surely take at least 5 years.
AIM Phoneline will be released in late May. Stay tuned to the TechWrap for when.