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Is Free Conferencing really Free?

We had a customer ask us recently, “Is Free Conferencing really free?”

The short answer is yes, as long as the Host or Moderator and all of the participants live in the same area code as the local Dial In Number and are not calling in via a Toll Free Number.

The reality is that most Hosts, Guests and Participants don’t live in the same area code as where the local Dial In Number is based and if the Host doesn’t issue a Toll Free Number, there are costs – it won’t show up on in the form of a conference invoice.

For most people, the average outbound long distance charge within North America is about 3.5¢. With some Telco’s, if your business does not have a good outbound long distance plan, you could be paying upwards of 10¢! Up to 50¢ per minute from the mobile carriers! Essentially the individual participants pay their portion of the call in long distance fees.

In the end, Free Conferencing could cost more than using a business class conferencing service provider.

How does Free Conferencing work?

That depends on the company. In the United States, there is a FCC loop hole which is currently being phased out.

According to Wikipedia; “Companies that provide free conference call services are usually compensated through a revenue sharing arrangement with the local phone company, sharing the terminating access charge for all incoming calls to a phone carrier.”
In Canada and other countries, some free conferencing companies subsidze the calls with advertisments or they sell thier customer lists.
If you have questions regarding Free Conference Calling, ask us! We have knowledgable experts who are happy to help!