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)
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Most recent comments on "Free Teleconferencing"
19 Nov 2009
Danesh can check the advantages/disadvantages of the these teleconferencing tools.
19 Nov 2009
What about Skype Video conferencing? I would like to know more about how Skype would work for conferencing, (or rather, how I would use Skype to make it work.) Is it free? What equipment would I need? How would I make a call?, etc.
My apologies if you have already covered the Skype method. If that is the case, would you point me to the particular article?
EDITOR'S NOTE: See http://www.skype.com/allfeatures/videocall/
19 Nov 2009
So, I don't understad the business model. Free telecons are great; I belong to a couple of volunteer clubs that could use this but don't understand why these services exist. Anybody out there know?
I also signed up with one, freeconferencecall.com and it has you dial, not an 800 number but a 641 area code. Is this a pay line or what?
EDITOR'S NOTE: As mentioned in the article, they will try to upsell you on other services.
19 Nov 2009
I use Skype each month to host a voice conference call with my 4 brothers who live all over the U.S. I subscribe to Skype (for around $24 a year) to enable me to call land and cell phone numbers. I can video call other Skype users. PC to PC is "free". I have already added their numbers to my contacts list, then drag them into a conference call. I hit dial and it shotgun calls them all at once, which has taken a bit getting used to, especially when one goes to voicemail. hello? Hello! Hi! What's up?
We had used the freeconference call number prior to Skype and we each had to pay LD rates to the Boston area... Our calls last about 60-90 minutes.
Skype will do video, but only one to one, I also had connected with some friends who were in Mexico in January-February, and also picked up some calls from my brother who was traveling around the world (from Vietnam, and India)... Video quality varied depending on the connection. Sometimes we would just go voice only. Interesting VOIP technology!
Back in the day, NetMeeting allowed for multiple video calls/conferences, but the ILS servers seemed to have gone away. Now it is pay only. Know of any FREE video conference linkls? Let me know!
20 Nov 2009
I use Skype a lot for confrence calls and find it iss a great tool. It is free for personal use and PC to PC. They also have Skype in and Skype out which are paid services. ASkype in gives you a phone number that any phone can call and if you are not on line they can even leave you voice messages just like and Answering system. Cost was $30 US for a year
Skype out cost me $30 for year to call any number in the US or Canada and for a little more you can call almost anywhere in the world
Using the confrence ability you can confrence in booth PC to PC and Land based phones at the same time
20 Nov 2009
Elluminate lets you have "3 for free", where 3 people can share video, audio, whiteboard. Good for distance ed too - you just need a computer, internet access & ideally a headset. elluminate.com
23 Nov 2009
I am using Skype and many other call conference software and I am in America and my family is in canada and Skype is the best tool for me to be in touch with them.
02 Dec 2010
There is a conference call service that doesn’t charge you anything for your conference call. All you pay for are the standard local or long distance charges levied by your service provider. Conference calls are billed just regular calling and there are no extra charges for call hosts or participants. Australia, Canada or Spain...no problem at all.
31 Jul 2013
Love this article, the list is rich with some hidden gems. The one aspect the article doesn't address is how some of the free tools can hijack your brand. One of my biggest pet peeves are those free conference calling services that we've all been tempted by in the past. My business was taken much more seriously when we spent the few bucks to get a service that allowed us to put our own brand on our conference bridge messaging. So "buyer" beware of the free tools and choose wisely. (btw, we use branded-bridge-line.c0m for our teleconferencing). Good Luck!
EDITOR'S NOTE: When you say "we" and "our", do you mean the people that hired you to post here? I've seen the EXACT same comment on other forums. How are things in Cebu City?
05 Mar 2015
Try Conference Calls, a good online source for audio, video and web conferencing services. http://www.conferencecalls.com/
09 May 2018
A teleconferences a telephone meeting among two or more participants involving technology more sophisticated than a simple two-way phone connection. At its simplest, a爐eleconference can燽e an audio conference with one or both ends of the conference sharing a speaker phone. A video conference is a live, visual connection between two or more people residing in separate locations for the purpose of communication. At its simplest, video conferencing provides transmission of static images and text between two locations. Tools like R-HUB HD video conferencing servers offers both teleconferencing and Video conferencing in one box. You may try the same.