AOL adds new phone features

The online giant, hoping to entice dial-up subscribers to buy more services, beefs up its Call Alert and Voicemail features.

America Online introduced enhancements Wednesday to its voice services as part of its ongoing effort to sell add-ons to its dial-up subscribers.

The changes affect AOL's Call Alert and Voicemail services. Both services will now include technology that fools computer-dialed telemarketing calls into thinking the user's line has been disconnected. The service will also allow subscribers to filter out human telemarketers who call while the user is online.

Later this summer, Call Alert and Voicemail will be further expanded to allow users to answer phone calls while still connected to the AOL service. Users will also be able to redirect incoming calls to their cell phones or to another landline.

The services will also allow people to block phone calls from anonymous callers.

AOL Call Alert and Voicemail are part of the online giant's attempt to give its business a boost by offering paid services on top of its monthly subscriptions. AOL, a division of AOL Time Warner, is suffering from a collapse in its online advertising revenue and two consecutive quarters of subscriber losses from its dial-up base.

AOL charges $3.95 a month for Call Alert and $5.95 for Voicemail, which includes Call Alert. Either charge is in addition to AOL's $23.90 monthly subscription fee.

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