Best Conference Call Service
Choosing the best conference call service from the thousands of conference calling companies available can be bewildering. You have to consider the geographic coverage of teleconferencing providers; the amenities they offer; the cost of the features you need; and the quality of conference call services. Here are some tips to consider...
Which Conference Calling Service Should I Choose?
A conference call is still the fastest, cheapest, easiest way to host a meeting between people who are scattered all over the planet. No one needs a computer or Internet access, so they don't have to be anywhere in particular to participate. They don't even have to be sitting still; you can join a teleconference from a cell phone while walking, riding a bus, or flying in an airplane.
A no-frills conference call hosting service will have each participant call a single phone number that connects to the conference call hosting system (called a "bridge"). A participant then enters a code provided by the organizer to specify which conference call he/she wants to join. Their call is then linked into the conference call.
In a "dial-out" conference call, the conference call service calls each participant, using either a live operator or automated equipment to place the calls. This type of service is good for busy senior executives who might otherwise forget the time to dial in.
Other amenities offered by teleconference call providers include toll free phone numbers for participants to call; control over which callers can speak at any given moment; transcriptions, and recording of calls for later playback. All of these add-ons cost a bit more.
Cheap conference calls are possible thanks to a practice known as "traffic pumping," in which rural telephone companies allow conference callers to use their local phone number for free or below-market prices. The phone companies do so in order to inflate the inter-exchange fees that larger telcos pay when traffic is passed from one telco's network to another.
Paid conference calling services start at around 10 cents a minute per line. You can save money by subscribing to a usage-based plan, i.e., up to 1000 line-minutes per month for less than the ad hoc rate. AccuConference.com, ConferenceGroup.com, and other conference call hosting services offer such plans. Calliflower.com offers flat rate unlimited conferencing starting at $50/month with no per minute charges, and a 14-day free trial.
What About Free Conference Calling?
Free conference calls may also be offered by VoIP-based telephone service companies as a demonstration of their services' quality. FreeConferenceCall.com is one such conference call hosting service. There are even free conference calling service providers with a purpose, such as FreeGreenConferenceCalls.com. For every 10,000 line-minutes used, someone plants a tree somewhere. You can invite up to 250 participants and each will get a toll free phone number to call. Recordings of conference calls are included.
But don't think they're doing this just for the trees. To get free conference calls, you have to provide your name, valid email address, and other info about your conference calling and other telecommunications needs. Sure enough, the price of free conference calls is listening to sales pitches somewhere down the line. You may also experience occasional poor voice quality, and participants might have to listen to advertisements when calling in.
If you only need occasional basic conference calling, try one of the free services and see if the quality and features meet your needs. If you need advanced features, or you are a heavy user, I suggest you try Calliflower or one of the others mentioned above.
Do you have a favorite conference call provider? Tell us why you like yours, or post a comment below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 1 Dec 2010
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
All-In-One Desktop PCs
The Top Twenty
PC Tune Up
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Best Conference Call Service (Posted: 1 Dec 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved