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Affordable Conferencing - Skype for Business | International Conferencing | Talk Together

Free Conference Calling | Learn the Truth

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Over the last few years, more and more free conference calling companies have emerged. They lure in thousands of people. These services claim to provide people free conference calling that seems to good to be true.

You might not be aware of this, the FCC™’s Telecommunications Act of 1996 made big companies pay a termination fee to small rural carriers. This was done so that they could complete calls through their rural networks. The cost of this termination was more than 10 times higher than regular calling costs. This leads the rural companies to incur a much greater expense in running wires to remote regions.

Over time came conference calling. These companies had deals with the big companies to be their termination points. This means that even when you are making a free conference call, some calls in rural areas will terminate so that they can charge the telephone companies a large fee and then share a part of their profit with the free conference call company. This entire act is known as access stimulation, phantom traffic, or traffic pumping.

In 2010 free conference calling companies ended up making $23 million with 20 million calls per month. Large phone companies reported that they end up paying an additional $250 million so that they can connect phantom traffic calls that were terminated at small rural phone companies. Companies like Skype and Google Voice do not allow calls to conference call services and other chat lines in order to avoid paying the large sum of money.

Why Free Conference Calling Services are Tricky

We love free things so much that we don’t realize that while making such calls, we increase the chances of getting unobtainable message because of escalation of the digital telco disruption. It is important you know that conference calls are an important part of the collaboration and a lot of people take part in remote meetings by talking on the phone.

The important question that arises at this point is that how are conference calls free? How are they making money?

The answer to this is that these free conference calling services are actually based on toll numbers and are not completely toll free, which is the reason why long distance charges, fees, and other taxes are charged.

At this point, you must be wondering that who is paying for all this. The answer: everyone who is a part of these calls pays. Even the clients that are a part of the important conference meeting and join your calls end up paying. Since you are utilizing U.S based toll numbers, your international client will be subjected to long distance charges, which are exorbitant to say the least and are charged individually to each member who is a part of the call. This entire thing is traced back to access stimulation and the loophole in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. At this point, you should be convinced that these calls are not toll free but there sure is some trolling involved.

4 Reasons Why Free Conference Calling is NOT a Bargain

Free services might sound very appealing to you but it has its repercussions, the biggest one being that they are not really free. Here are some of the reasons to consider.

  1. Quality

    You might have experienced poor quality while talking on a conference call. Ever experienced echoes, static noises, and crackling? You might have thoughts its okay since the service is free, but providers cut corners by advertising it for free and pocketing all the profit.

  2. Minimal Services

    Another thing is that most of these free conference calling services can only cater to small businesses and don’t make any improvements because they have you believing that since it’s for free, you should compromise and settle with what you have. You should loom up for a reliable service provider that offers multiple cloud based solutions.

  3. No Great Features

    Since these conference call companies have you believing that they are free, they do not offer any great features and services. Many times the extra features are higher than normal.

  4. Connection is unreliable at times.

    Most of the times there is no guarantee that the conference call will be actually connected, which will affect your professionalism and growth opportunities.

Important Questions to Ask Before Signing Up For Free Conference Calling

Here are a few important questions that you need to ask before signing up for such services:

  • Should you be signing a contract? You should be asking this in order to learn about how much you will be charged per minute, if you don’t want to be shocked later on.
  • What will I get for my money? Obviously, you will paying for the services, which is why it is a good idea to get the services that will be provided to you by the company.
  • What are the hidden charges? A lot of time certain carriers charge you a fee even if you are not using the service for a specific time period. It is important to learn about all the taxes and extra charges.
  • How long can the conference call be and whether its quality will be good?

In conclusion, while conference calls are advertised as free, they aren’t completely free of charge in truth because you don’t pay the company that hosts the conference bridge on a per-minute or per delegate basis but instead pay the access to the bridge as a charge from your fixed or mobile operator. So, these calls are not free and you are required to pay the telephone company the charge of the long distance call to reach to the conference calling service, which results in higher charges.

Author: Tom Parker
Affordable Conferencing

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