Sprint Going WiMax
Skype 2.6 Out Now

AIM Phoneline = Free Phone Number

AIM PhoneLine is offering a free phone number and soon a lot more. I say that largely based on plans discussed in an open session yesteday by pal Ragui Kamel at the VOIP Developer's Conference about a new program that is now in place to provide developer's the toolkit necessary to produce applications that work with the AOL Instant Messenger based PhoneLine.

Unlike the Yahoo plug in program, the AIM Phoneline API program goes deeper, because Yahoo restricts the developers from getting involved in the Voice aspects of Messenger for now. That's largely due to Yahoo's over zealous security. What also makes this different is AOL is pursuing hardware as well as software developers. The AOL approach also seems a lot smoother, less rushed and more thought out
than Skype's which has had many a developer frustrated at times.

Ragui Kamel is also one of my telecom industry winepals. Over the last few months I've actually AIMed some compatible clients and friend led companies I know their way and the future for them and AIM Phone Line appears very bright.




Comments

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Raymond Day

This seems very good. With free skype out till the end of 2006 and free AIM phone in. It's like you have a real free phone line. Looks like skype will just cost about $10 after 2006 and with $10 have to use it in 6 months and that would give you about 3 days of talk time. Very cheep. I guess they will add something were you will have to pay a lot more. This seems to good to be true now.

-Raymond Day

Andy Abramson

DG,

The numbers come from a carrier, who supplies AOL with their PSTN capabilities. I've had a number since the beta and have not had one wrong number. Compared to my Skype In number where I still get calls that used to go to a law firm's switchboard over a year later.

The same holds true for virtual numbers I have with AT&T's CallVantage. Some numbers that one gets just had lots of people who knew them, and none who ever use Plaxo.

DG Lewis

While the bells and whistles may be neat, AOL seems to have never learned some of the basic principles of telephone service, like number aging. My AIM Phoneline number, which I didn't give to anyone, got 11 calls in the first three days I had it -- all wrong numbers, of course.

After three days of getting interrupted with the notification popups, I wrote to the AIM support email asking them to please cancel AIM Phoneline, only to be told that they can't do anything with AIM Phoneline, I have to call a different support number.

So I uninstalled AIM. I suspect that my AIM Phoneline number is either sitting out there in limbo or has been reassigned to some other poor sucker who is getting three or four wrong number calls a day.

On a slightly less vindictive note, if USF reform goes in the direction that some industry heavies want it to go -- changing to phone number based charging rather than interstate MOU based charging -- these various free phone number services are going to get hit.

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