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Don't be Fooled by a Free Conference Call

Everybody loves something that is free. What could be better? And if you need to do a call what could be better than a free conference call? Well, like everything else in life nothing is really free and a free conference service is no different. Here is an explanation of what a free call is, how they do it, who is paying for it and why a free service is not such a good deal.

How does a free call work?

A company is able to offer a free service because of a little known payment that happens in the telecommunications networks in the United States. A long distance carrier in the US needs to terminate its calls on a local network so that the call can ultimately make it to the person on the end of the line. The fee is paid by the long distance carrier to the local carrier to process the call. So, someone got the idea to place their equipment on the local carrier's network and cut a deal with them to share the fee paid by the long distance carrier. The fee is very small but if you can generate a lot of minutes than you can turn it into some real money. The problem is you have to generate so many minutes to get any money out of the equation that you can't afford to build a real business around just free calls.

What is wrong with a free call?

Because of the economics of the business there are a number of problems with a free service. First of all since they can't afford the best in equipment many times they build their own systems out of computers and voice cards. The equipment is not made to the standards that real conference equipment is made and a back up system is usually not provided. Then the network that the equipment is connected to is probably a VOIP network to save money on their end since they still have to pay something to connect to the telecommunications network. And capacity is sometimes an issue. Since the service is free there is no guarantee that the service will be there when you need it to be. Would you trust your call to a questionable network that may not be available connected to a system that is not telecommunications grade equipment?

Hidden Charges

The other main problem for you and your participants on a free service is the cost. A free call is not really free. They provide only local access for the call so you and your participants need to dial a long distance number to access the conference (that is how they make their money) so you will see charges on your phone bill for the entire time you are connected to the free call. In most cases this cost is more than if you used a toll free service like Zip Conferencing. Do you really want your participants to have to dial a long distance number to get on your call?

Why do they offer free calls?

Since the economics of the business are a little questionable why would anyone do it? Well, shortly after the first company offered a free call service they started offering toll free calls for a fee. The fee they charge for a toll free call is more than just about any other service company out there. So, really the free service is just a way to get customers on their network and when the customer realizes that the free call does not serve their needs they then try to switch them to a toll free service where they make their real money. For instance freeconferencecall.com offers a toll free service for 10 cents a minute. Zip Conferencing has toll free services on a high quality, reliable network for 4.8 cents a minute and rates as low as 2.4 cents a minute.

So, don't be fooled by a free call service. Choose a service that reflects the high quality standards you would set for your own business and you won't be disappointed. Sign up today and get a free trial so you can see for yourself!

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