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In today's globalized economy, with more business being conducted across different timezones, like me you've probably noticed that the number of conference calls you need to engage in has increased dramatically.

This is simply because you frequently have to interact with people in different geographic locations.

Thankfully, there is no shortage of services that are available that make conference calls simple and cheap, and don't require any special equipment or calling plans from your phone provider.

Here are 6 conference call services that may be of use to you.

  • FreeConference . Although I'm not based in the United States, when doing conference calls with people in the US, this is my service of choice. Although the free service doesn't offer a toll-free dial-in number, I've found that so many people and businesses in the United States have flat-rate nationwide calling that a toll-free dial-in number isn't really needed.
  • SaveOnConferences . This UK-based conference call service is itself free - participants pay only the cost of a call to an 0844 number.
  • FreeConferenceCall.com . Another free conference call service, FreeConferenceCall.com is available in the United States and in 10 European countries, including the UK, France and Germany.
  • WebEx . WebEx, which is now owned by Cisco, is one of the leading conferencing solution providers. While it's not free, it offers lot of features that may be important to you, including the ability to share your desktop with participants.
  • GoToMeeting . Like WebEx, GoToMeeting offers more than just conference calling. It offers a full set of online meeting features, including collaboration tools and recording/playback.
  • BroadData Conferencing . If you're looking for an international toll-free or local dial-in service, BroadData Conferencing provides it in a number of countries.
Here are a few tips for selecting a conference call service:
  • Test a few out. In my experience, call quality can differ greatly so be sure you're getting the best quality possible.
  • Determine what features are most important. What do you absolutely need and what can you live without?

    Paid services typically offer some very nice features, but if you're not using any of them regularly, committing to a paid service may not be cost-effective and at most, you use a free service for regular conference calls and a paid service on a pay-per-use basis when additional features are needed.

  • Don't get hung up on free vs. paid. Most of the free conference call services have an intro message when a participant dials in (i.e. "...a free service provided by FreeConferenceCall.com").

    You might be inclined to use a paid service because you worry that such a message may make you look less "professional" when participants call in, but in my opinion the free services are used so much that nobody really notices. As such I personally advise that you shouldn't necessarily use a paid service just to avoid these messages.

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Published 28 July, 2008 by Patrick Oak

82 more posts from this author

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John

You may want to take a look at the following options other than the hosted services you listed:

1. Freeware audio conferencing for international users:

http://www.goteamspeak.com

Different from skype, it supports you almost unlimited participants with decent quality. You can host it your own or purchase service from other providers at very affordable price.

2. Appliance. Hardware and software are boundled together and very easy to deply.

http://www.rhubcom.com

RHUB appliance delivers both web conferencing and free land-quality audio conferencing. The top of choosing an appliance is the cost saving over time. It can be paid within a couple of months compared with WebEx or GotoMeeting.

about 8 years ago

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Nancy King

Just a quick note to say that FreeConference does offer both Web-Scheduled and Reservationless Toll Free Premium 800 service in addition to it's free service.

We also have Shareplus desktop sharing which lets you share presentations, spreadsheets, documents, photos, and browse the web while your participants view your computer desktop.

Lots of additional features that you can learn about online. www.freeconference.com.

Thanks
Nancy King
VP Marketing
FreeConference.com

about 8 years ago

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Ian Saunders

WiredRed is a provider of multi-party desktop video conferencing software and we've found that an increasing number of companies are looking to acheive more from their conference calls.

Over 4,500 companies are using WiredReds' e/pop web conferencing software. They like the fact that they can play up to 20 live videos from their desktop /laptops, they can share any application including 3D CAD files and they use e/pops' built in VoIP to reduce the cost per minute charge down to zero.

One of the reasons they like our e/pop software is that enables teams to virtually see each other. Teams can guage reactions from colleagues as in a real meeting. Moreover, as documents are often discussed in meetings these documents can be shared within the web conference whilist simustaneously playing the videos. The documents can be constructed and edited live too.

The benefit over a conference call is a that more can be acheived within a given time frame.

Please let me know if any if any of your members would be interested in a 15 day free trial of the e/pop web conferencing software.

Best regards

Ian Saunders
www.wiredred.co.uk

about 8 years ago

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Matt

I've always used Conference Genie in the past - http://www.conferencegenie.co.uk/ I've never had any problems

about 8 years ago

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Matthew Brownell

Unless you want to be a pair of brown shoes at a black-tie party, or are competing to impersonate a German U-Boat captain on a North Sea deep-dive skirmmish, I would not recommend using software-based VoIP for serious business conferencing requirements.

The delay, clarity, and echo hurdles endemic to software-based VoIP conferencing , and from enterprise hardware VoIP conferencing, provide a user experience that can only be characterized as embarrasing and counter-productive.

almost 8 years ago

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Casey

If you're after the easiest and cheapest conference call service you can find, I would recommend Powwownow.

There's no registration or commitment required, you just need to organise your other call participants, have the conference, and then everyone pays for the cost of their own call which is charged on their regular phone bill. So easy!

Powwownow's free web conferencing service, 'Showtime' is also very easy and very useful to use in conjunction with your conference calls.

almost 8 years ago

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Howard Blake

I've tried so many free conference call companies it's not even funny. The one that stands out from the rest is conferencetown.com. They have the best recording set up of everyone (it's also nice and clear). They give you a free moderator panel that puts you in complete control of the call. A++.

almost 8 years ago

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Simon

MeetingZone is a really good service which I have never had any problems with. They have features such as being able to manage everything online such as online billing, and our account manager gave us a really good rate saving us over half on what we were paying with BT. If you call him on 0207 034 7356 and tell him Simon referred you he might do the same deal (and further reduce my rate for referring you!)

over 7 years ago

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John

Tried so many now. I have to admit, the evolution and refinement of these companies is rather slow. Been with http://www.meetupcall.com for several months now - fast, easy and painless with new nifty tools that help to make it even less effortless.

over 6 years ago

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David Phones

Thank you for the links, I have used some of the services you posted. We should also consider the geography and the application / service installed on your friend / clients computer. But as of now since all of my clients are based on UK, I use

about 6 years ago

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gennygenoa

I have been with www.togetherglobal.com and happy with the services they provide in conference call services. They offer low cost teleconferencing solutions and has 24 hour customer service.I never had a problem with them.

about 6 years ago

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