Internet titan America Online is about to launch a challenge in the UK home telephone market.

The British arm of the US-headquartered company is taking on the near-monopoly of telecoms giant BT by offering AOL Talk to current and new internet subscribers. It will be available as a standalone product later this year.

Customers will enjoy unlimited national and local telephone calls for a highly competitive £7.99 ($14.67; €11.61) monthly.

Says Karen Thomson, ceo of AOL UK: "It's a big step for us because it will give us customers that are not necessarily internet users ... We saw the ground was well prepared so it's a natural thing for us to move into."

BT controls more than 70% of the UK home telephone market and is the biggest provider of broadband internet connections. AOL UK is number two in the broadband stakes, with a 20% share of the market.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff