Free conference call services

i’m considering using one of these free conference call services (maybe Free Teleconferencing, Conference Call Free, Free Conference Call Services - FreeConferenceCall.com) to have calls with clients and other project stakeholders.

has anyone used any of these free conference call services? are they really free? what’s the catch?

There’s no catch. They make their money by colluding with small local phone exchanges to abuse federal telecom regulations. They’re lawfully extorting the money from cell phone companies, not from end users like you. In fact, the more people they get to use the free conference calls, the more money they make.

These companies purposely route the calls through small local telephone exchanges before bridging with the wireless networks of people calling into the conference call with cell phones. The wireless carriers are legally required to pay the local exchanges for bridging these calls. So the exchanges set high bridging fees, get these free conference calling services to route their calls through them, collect on the federally mandated fees from the wireless carriers, and pass on some of that money to the conference call company.

The system is supposed to make sure small local companies can offer full phone service in areas without many customers. Instead, it’s abused to make big carriers pay fees to these companies for calls that didn’t really originate in their area at all… and that ends up being paid for by all of us with cell phones through higher bills.

Dan, That may be one of the most insightful posts I’ve read here… great info, thanks so much for sharing.

As far as the quality of the services, I’ve used FreeConferenceCall.com extensively and while I’d like to never hear their hold music again in this lifetime, it works fine.

The main downside is the lack of a toll free #. With cellphones this is not a big cost impact, but more of a perception issue… hardly the end of the world however. There’s also some advanced features that you may find missing, like recording and moderation controls, but those are sold at a fairly small fee and I find that the end-of-call reporting options actually beat out some of the paid providers.

We’ve move on up to a more premium service to insure 800 #s for use while on the road but all in all, aside from the obvious larger implications Dan pointed out, they work just fine. No spam, no service issues.

thanks guys. good to know info!