A conference call is a telephone call carried out by an individual or a company in which a call is made or projected to several people at the same time. The conference calls may be designed to allow the called party to participate during the call, or the call may be set up so that the called party merely listens into the call and cannot speak. It is sometimes called ATC (audio tele-conference). Practically, at the time of any conference call, all participants call their in-country dial-in number followed by the host’s access code. Connect with Confidence.
Conference calls can be designed so that the calling party calls the other participants and adds them to the call; however, participants are usually able to call into the conference call themselves by dialing a telephone number that connects to a “conference bridge” (a specialized type of equipment that links telephone lines).
Companies commonly use a specialized service provider who maintains the conference bridge, or who provides the phone numbers and PIN codes that participants dial to access the meeting or conference call. These service providers can often dial-out to participants, connecting them to call and introducing them to the parties who are on-the-line. The operators can also take additional information such as question and answer details and also enable and disable advanced conferencing features such as muting lines, muting participants and enabling a recording feature. An operator can often be summoned to conference call hosted by a service provider using a combination of keys on a users’ (sometimes only the moderator) telephone keypad. The most common recall function is *0. (asterisk and the zero/operator key)
The more limited three-way calling is available (usually at an extra charge) on home or office phone lines. For a three-way call, the first called party is dialed. Then the hook flash button (or recall button) is pressed and the other called party’s phone number is dialed. While it is ringing, flash/recall is pressed again to connect the three people together. This option allows callers to add a second outgoing call to an already connected call.
How do I do conference call?
- Phone the first person.
- After the call connects and you complete a few pleasantries, touch the Add Call icon. The Add Call icon is shown. …
- Dial the second person. ..
- Touch the Merge or Merge Calls icon. …
- Touch the End Call icon to end the conference call.
What is the best conference call service?
- UberConference. If you want a free conference call tool for voice calls, UberConference is the first place you should look. …
- Skype. …
- Zoom. …
- Google Hangouts. …
- GoToMeeting. …
- FreeConferenceCall.com. …
- Webex. …
Businesses use conference calls daily to meet with remote parties, both internally and outside of their company. Common applications are client meetings or sales presentations, project meetings and updates, regular team meetings, training classes and communication to employees who work in different locations. Conference calling is viewed as a primary means of cutting travel costs and allowing workers to be more productive by not having to go out-of-office for meetings.
Conference calls are used by nearly all United States public corporations to report their quarterly results. These calls usually allow for questions from stock analysts and are called earnings calls. A standard conference call begins with a disclaimer stating that anything said in the duration of the call may be a forward-looking statement, and that results may vary significantly. The CEO, CFO, or investor relations officer then will read the company’s quarterly report. Lastly, the call is opened for questions from analysts.
Conference calls are increasingly used in conjunction with web conferences, where presentations or documents are shared via the internet. This allows people on the call to view content such as corporate reports, sales figures and company data presented by one of the participants. The main benefit is that the presenter of the document can give clear explanations about details within the document, while others simultaneously view the presentation. Care should be taken not to mix video and audio source on the same network since the video feed can cause interruptions on sound quality.
It is important to pay attention to conference call etiquette when participating; for example, one should refrain from shouting and multitasking in certain cases. Care should also be taken to schedule a call at a convenient time.
Business conference calls are usually hosted or operator-assisted, with a variety of features.
Flat-rate conferencing services are being offered which give unlimited access to a conference bridge at a fixed monthly cost. Because telecommunication carriers offer free long-distance bundled with local service, this alternative is gaining widespread popularity for budget conscious businesses and non-profits.
In the UK, there are conference services offered on a pay-as-you-go basis where the cost of the phone calls (using 0843/0844, or 0871/0872 non-geographic revenue sharing numbers) from each of the participants covers the cost of the conference service. With this service type there is no monthly charge and usually no contracts to sign.
Prepaid conference calls
Prepaid conference call services allow businesses and individuals to purchase conferencing services online, and conduct conference calls on a pay-as-you-go basis. Typically, a conference call PIN and its associated calling instructions are displayed immediately online after being purchased and/or sent via email. Generally, prepaid conference call services are used with a landline telephone, mobile phone, or computer, and there is no need to buy additional expensive telecommunications hardware or add/switch long distance service. Some services allow one to start or join a conference call from virtually any country worldwide—with appropriate telephone access.
Large telecommunications providers such as AT&T, Embarq (formerly Sprint), Verizon and other large to medium conferencing service providers maintain a dominant position in the conferencing niche; servicing many of the world’s biggest brands. However, the Internet and improved global VoIP networks have helped to significantly reduce the barrier of entry into this niche.
Free conference calling
Free conferencing is different from traditional conference calling in that it has no organizer fees and allows for multiple people to meet for the price of their long distance connections. 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.
Some background on the terminating access charge: On every long distance call in the United States including toll conference calls, the consumer is paying for origination (dial tone), transport, and termination (connecting the call).Each of these phone companies share a piece of the cost of the call. If it is the same phone company performing all three tasks (most likely the two largest phone companies – AT&T and Verizon), they keep all of the charge. This is known as intercarrier compensation (ICC) and is intended to keep the telecommunications system functioning by having every phone company receive compensation for using their network.
Here participants dial in on a premium-rate number such as a toll free number in the US. The conference is typically hosted by the party that perceives value in the call in order to justify the cost: this could be a business owner, a non-profit board member, an educator, lawyer, or expert in any given field. That person then usually pays for the cost of the call. Premium conferencing can also be used for charitable fundraisers.
Premium Conferencing Feature Sets
- Reservationless or operator assisted conferencing
- Host PINs
- Name announce
- Roll-call (unique and superior)
- Moderator/participant codes
- Live web-based call management with mute/unmute, drop one/all, and dial out
- Recording with .wav file access through an online account
- High-quality on-demand transcriptions (with 4-hour turnaround on request)
- Customizable, “branded” greetings(unique)
- Broadcast mode
- Q&A facilitation
- Polling and polling reports
- Dial-out with or without requested response
- Web based screen sharing options
- 24/7 availability
Conferencing in IMS
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) defined a technical specification (TS 24.147) for conferencing within the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) based on the Session Initiation Protocol(SIP), SIP Events, the Session Description Protocol (SDP) and the Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP, aka RFC4582).
WhatsApp and Viber are popular IMS applications that also offer audio calls, however, both of them do not offer conferencing option. This article was the first to suggest a way to conference using WhatsApp by sharing a smart-link that each participant can click to join a call, either by dialing in or using a web call.
How many calls can be connected in a conference call?
Merge the calls. Once you have the two friends on hold, merge your calls by tapping “Merge calls” on the screen. The button will be in place of the Add Callicon. Your calls to the two friends will be merged, and you three can now start chatting.
How do you arrange a conference call?
- Set up your Conference Call. Choose a date/time of your conference call.
- Invite your Participants. Send all participants an invitation with your PIN, date/time and dial-in number(s).
- Start your Conference Call. At the agreed time, all participants dial in and enter your PIN to join your conference call!