America Online is testing a Voice Over IP (define) service, as it seeks the right mix of products and pricing to halt sliding subscriber stats.

Anne Bentley, an AOL spokeswoman, confirmed the move but would not disclose details. The service will reportedly be ready for launch in 2005 if all goes well.

The Time Warner (Quote, Chart) subsidiary is the latest in a parade of telecom carriers, cable operators and ISPs looking to benefit from surging demand for flat-rate calling plans.

Among the others aggressively rolling out VoIP are: long-distance provider AT&T (Quote, Chart); regional operator Verizon (Quote, Chart); and well-funded start-up Vonage.


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