Voice teleconferencing remains a staple of business despite the proliferation of alternatives such as email, instant messaging, and webinars. When you want a meeting but can’t get everyone together in the same room, it’s natural to call for a teleconference. The problem is that teleconferencing can get expensive...
Options for Free Teleconferencing
Even a basic cell phone lets you teleconference with up to three parties. You dial one party; put him or her on hold; dial the other party and "conference them in", and voila! Three people on one call. But the sound quality between the two parties "on the ends" of the call may not be all that great. The person who hooks the other two callers to his or her phone has the best seat in the house. If you want better sound or more than three parties on a call, you need more sophisticated teleconferencing gear.
Teleconference equipment includes desktop speakerphones so that multiple parties can talk and listen from a given location and teleconference "bridges," essentially computers into which many phone lines can be plugged and linked together in random combinations. This hardware can range from $100 for a decent speakerphone to over a million for a bridge that can link hundreds of phone lines. If you don’t use teleconferencing very often, it makes sense to use someone else’s gear instead of buying it.
Teleconference service providers charge by the "line-minute", i.e. 10 phone lines used for 60 minutes at 10 cents a line-minute equals a $60 teleconference. Other charges may be added for amenities such as having each caller greeted by a live operator; having operators call out to participants so they needn’t navigate voice menus; recording a teleconference for later playback; and so on. It can add up to a pretty penny.
But for small, no-frills teleconferences, many free teleconference services are available.
Free teleconferences are offered to establish a business relationship with you. The service provider hopes to sell you other services, often not limited to teleconferences. Many teleconference service providers also offer virtual office services; business forms printing; low-cost 800 numbers; and other goods or services that small businesses often need.
Free Teleconference Services
Try one of these free teleconferencing services if you need to have a meeting by phone. You'll be surprised at the features that some of them offer, including unlimited call time, muting and free call recording.
- Free Conference Service: Free, unlimited teleconference services available 24-hours a day for up to 50 parties on each call. There are no restrictions on call length.
- FreeConference.com: Free web-scheduled or reservationless conference calls with 24-hour automated access, call reporting, conference mute, up to 150 participants and a maximum call length of three hours. They also offer a paid plan, as well as add-ons, such as conference recording.
- FreeConferenceCall.com: Free, reservationless conference calling that provides a dedicated dial-in number and an access code, 24/7 access, free recording, listen-only mode, call reports, up to 96 callers and maximum of 6-hour conference calls.
- FreeConferencePro: A free service that provides scheduled or on-demand conference calling for 2 to 200 participants on calls of unlimited duration. The service provides multiple call modes (conversation, Q&A and presentation mode), online account access, reporting and customization options.
- FreeGreenConferenceCalls.com: A free service that’s available 24/7 365 days a year for reservationless calls including up to 250 participants per call and an unlimited call length. The service provides free call recording and downloading of WAV files for each call, and presentation mode so all callers can be muted by the moderator.
- No Cost Conference: Free instant, automated conference calls, available 24/7 with no scheduling required. They also provide an unlimited conference time, and free recording and retrieval.
Do you know of other free teleconferencing services? How would you rate the ones you've tried? Post your comments below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Nov 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Teleconferencing (Posted: 18 Nov 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved