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AOL Gives Free Phone Numbers To Users Over 18

A day after Skype inaugurated a free North American calling plan, AOL began its AIM Phoneline service Tuesday with a free phone number for AIM users who can receive free unlimited incoming calls and free voicemail.

AOL also said the service will only be available to users 18 years and older thereby eliminating a substantial percentage of its AIM user base. AOL also said the service will have a unique "Do Not Answer Registry" giving users the ability to block unwanted calls.

The service, announced earlier this month, also features paid subscriptions ranging from about $10 to $15 a month that enable subscribers to make outgoing calls.

"Our research shows that the need for a separate and confidential phone number is becoming as important to consumers as the need for multiple email addresses," said John McKinley, president of AOL Digital Services, in a statement.

AOL noted that the Opinion Research Corporation recently found that seven of every ten Americans need an additional phone line and 84 percent said they are concerned about sharing their home hone number.

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