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Conference Calls Cost


How Much Do Conference Calls Cost?

 
low costLow: Can Be Freeaverage costMedium: 3-Way Calling Can Run $4-$10 a Monthhigh costHigh: Flat Rates Start at $40-$100 a Month
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A conference call allows anywhere from three to thousands of participants to listen to and participate in a telephone conversation, often while viewing a presentation (known as web conferencing). Also called an Audio Teleconference or ATC, conference calls can be used for client meetings, sales presentations, project updates, or seminars.

Typical costs:

  • The most basic conference call is three-way calling, where the person initiating the call adds a third person to the conversation. Several cell-phone companies and some land-line companies (such as Comcast) include this service for free; others charge a small fee (perhaps 60 cents-$2 per call or $4-$10 monthly.
  • Phone companies such as Skype[1] that provide telephone service over the Internet offer free conference calling for a limited number of participants, but participants all need access to a computer with an Internet connection. Some people report that the quality of Skype calls can be inconsistent, getting less clear when their Internet connection is busy.
  • Companies such as FreeConference.com[2] or FreeConferenceCall.com[3] provide basic conference calling services for free by having participants dial into what's known as a non-geographic number (NGN). There's no fee for the conference call, but participants often pay long-distance charges to their own phone carrier. Also, availability can be limited -- it might be hard to book a free call at peak hours. Generally free conference calling doesn't include support services such as the ability to see a list of who's on the line.
  • Paying for a conference calling service gives the organizer of the conference call more features (such as a toll-free number for those calling in to participate, or having the system call participants rather than making participant call in) and more control, including monitoring who's on the line or the ability to mute or drop participants. Charges can run 5 cents - 60 cents or more a minute per participant depending on what's included in the service, and most companies offer a flat monthly rate for high-volume users.
  • A 1-hour call with eight participants could run $25-$290, depending on the options and services provided. There can also be extra charges for features such as recording the conference call. Flat rates can start around $40-$100 a month for extremely basic service and go up into hundreds or thousands of dollars monthly depending on the number of calls and participants and other options included in the flat rate.
  • Reservationless (automated) calling is typically less expensive and allows you to initiate a conference call at any time. Operated-assisted conference calling is more expensive and must be pre-scheduled (up to 24 hours in advance), but is better for larger conferences with lots of participants -- having an operator manage the logistics while you are speaking can be helpful in making a well-organized and professional presentation.
Related articles: Internet Phone Service, Fax Service, Internet Access

What should be included:
  • Generally once you sign up with a free or automated/reservationless service, the person organizing the conference calls (often called the call administrator) is given a phone number and PIN/passcode number, and another phone number and PIN for participants to call in to the conference call. More premium or operator-assisted services also provide contact information to schedule phone calls and support features. ExpertVillage.com provides a video[4] explaining how free conference calling works.
Shopping for conference calls:
  • Before choosing a conference calling company, decide how often you might need to host a conference call, the average number of participants, if you need to control who talks and who listens, and whether a straight phone-to-phone conversation is enough or if you also want to share data or presentations on participants' computer screens.
  • If you know another business that regularly schedules conference calls, ask which service they use and how satisfied they are. Check with your local and long-distance carriers to see what sort of conference calling services they offer, then compare those with the services and prices provided by specialized conference calling companies. Before choosing, request a free demonstration of a conference call service.
  • There are literally hundreds of conference calling companies out there, including Adobe Acrobat Connect[5] , Conference Calls Unlimited[6] and Webex.com[7] .
  • Blogger ChrisPirillo.com[8] tracks feedback on various companies and AllConferenceServices.com provides ratings[9] for six of most popular companies.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Used FreeConferenceCall
Amount: $0.00 per call
Posted by: Ed1234 in San Jose, CA.Posted: February 27th, 2009 02:02PM
Service: FreeConferenceCall.comFeatures:
Number of Callers: 5
I was pretty surprised to hear about these Free Conference Call services -- how do they make money? Anyway, when I was planning a bachelor party, we used a free service so all the groomsmen could dial in and talk. It was a 712 area code, but everyone had free long distance, so there was no charge for the call. It worked well and the conference call was clear. Because people dial a 712 # and have to enter a conference code, it might seem less professional for business or sales calls, but it seemed like a good fit if you wanted something free for a casual purpose. The hard part is getting everyone to call in on time!
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External Resources:
  1.  www.skype.com/en/features/
  2.  www.freeconference.com/
  3.  www.freeconferencecall.com/
  4.  www.ehow.com/video_4989451_conference-calling-work.html
  5.  /www.acrobat.com/main/en/home.html
  6.  www.conferencecallsunlimited.com/
  7.  www.webex.com/
  8.  chris.pirillo.com/conference-calling/
  9.  www.allconferenceservices.com/conference-call-services-ratings.html
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