AOL AIM Phoneline gives you a free phone number

Following on the heels of Skype offering free (free for now because Skype is only doing it to mess with the Vonage IPO) Skype-out service, AOL has begun offering free inbound calling along with your own phone number with its AIM Phoneline service. For an additional $9.95 a month, you can get unlimited calling to 30 countries!

Following on the heels of Skype offering free (free for now because Skype is only doing it to mess with the Vonage IPO) Skype-out service, AOL has begun offering free inbound calling along with your own phone number with its AIM Phoneline service.  For an additional $9.95 a month, you can get unlimited calling to 30 countries

At the very least, I'm going to sign up for my free phone number and free inbound calling and I might even try the flat-rate outbound calling whenever Skype stops offering free US outbound calling or whenever I need to call outside of North America often.  I really can't remember a time in history when phone calls were so cheap.

With telephony service re-experiencing a bit of the dotcom craze, can companies like Vonage and Lingo survive with monthly flat fees twice as high?  The main advantage to those SIP-based services is that you don't need a physical computer on and you can use your regular corded or cordless phone, but some people may not care when their computer is on all day anyways.  Furthermore, there will soon be stand-alone devices on the market that will work independent of a computer that will be compatible with Skype and there is no reason the same devices can't also support AIM Phoneline.

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