A conference call is a phone call in which someone talks to several people at the same time. A conference call can be designed to allow the called party to participate during the call. Or set up so that the called party only listens to the call and cannot speak. It is sometimes called ATC (Audio Conference Call).
Conference calls can be designed so that callers can call other participants and add them to the call. Participants can usually join the conference call themselves by dialing a phone number connected to a “conference bridge,”. Which is a connection Special equipment for telephone lines.
Companies often use specialized service providers to maintain conference bridges. Or to provide phone numbers and PINs that participants dial to access meetings or conference calls. These service providers can often dial out participants, connect them to the call and introduce them to parties online. Operators can also get extra information. Such as question and answer details, and enable and disable advanced conference features. Like muting lines, muting participants, and enabling recording. The operator can usually be called into a conference call hosted by the service provider using a key combination on the user’s phone keypad. The most common recall function is *0. (asterisk and zero/action keys)
Offers more limited three-way calling on a home or office phone line (often for an additional fee). For a three-way call, dial the first called party. Then press the hookswitch (or the recall key) to dial the other party’s phone number. When the bell rings, press flash/recall again to tie the three together. This option allows the caller to add a second outgoing call to the connected call.
Businesses use conference calls every day to meet with remote parties both inside and outside the company. Common applications are client meetings or sales presentations, project meetings and updates. Regular team meetings, training sessions, and communication with employees working in different locations. Conference calls are reducing travel costs and increasing productivity. It is freeing employees from traveling for meetings.
Nearly all U.S. public companies use conference calls to report their quarterly results. These calls often allow stock analysts to ask questions and are called earnings calls. The standard conference call begins with a disclaimer that anything said during the conference call. It may be forward-looking statements and results could differ materially. The CEO, CFO or Investor Relations Officer will then read the company’s quarterly report. Finally, the conference call begins with questions from analysts.
Teleconferencing is increasingly being used in conjunction with web conferencing. Where presentations or documents are shared over the Internet. This allows people on the call to view things like company reports, sales figures, and company data from one of the participants. The main benefit is that the presenter of the document can give a clear explanation. He explai n the details in the document while others can view the presentation at the same time. Care should be taken not to mix video and audio sources on the same network, as video feeds can cause interruptions in sound quality.
Be mindful of conference call etiquette when participating. For example, yelling and multitasking should be avoided in certain situations. Care should also be taken to schedule calls at a convenient time.
Business conference calls are often hosted or operator-assisted and have multiple functions.
Conference calls are also beginning to leapfrog into the world of podcasting and social networking. Which in turn fosters new modes of interaction. Live streaming or broadcasting of conference calls allows a wider audience to access the phone without dialing in to the bridge. Additionally, conference call organizers can post a dial-in number alongside the audio stream. That creates the potential for audience members to dial in and interact.
The UK government started changing flexible working rights in 2014. It is allowing employees working full-time in a company or organisation to legally apply for flexible work. Recently, many different types of flexible work have emerged as teleconferencing technology enables. So employees Can do the work remotely organization.
A flat-rate conference service is being offered, with unlimited access to the conference bridge for a fixed monthly fee. The alternative is gaining popularity among budget-conscious businesses and nonprofits. It is as telecom operators offer free long-distance bundled with local service.
In the UK, there is a pay-as-you-go conference service. Where the cost of the conference service is covered by the telephone charges per participant.. With this type of service, there are no monthly charges and usually no contract.
prepaid conference call
Prepaid teleconferencing services allow businesses and individuals to purchase conferencing services online. And it conduct conference calls on a pay-as-you-go basis.Typically, conference call PINs and their associated call instructions are displayed online after the purchase email. Typically, prepaid teleconferencing services are used with landlines, cell phones or computers without the need to purchase additional expensive telecom hardware or add/switch long distance services. Certain services allow people to start or join a conference call from almost any country in the world with appropriate phone access.
Large telecom providers such as AT&T, Embarq, Verizon. and other mid-to-large conferencing service providers maintain their dominance in the conferencing space. Which serves many of the world’s largest brands. However, the Internet and improved global VoIP networks have helped to significantly lower the barriers to entry in this segment.
Free conference call
Free meetings differ from traditional teleconferencing. It has no organizer fees, no human operators, and allows multiple people to connect for free, in addition to any other calls. Companies that offer free conference calling services are often compensated through a revenue-sharing arrangement. It is with the local phone company, which splits the call termination fee with the phone operator.
In the case of toll-free conference calls, the conference company makes an agreement with the local phone company. It hosts the conference bridge for a portion of the terminating access fee charged for connecting the phone. In large carriers like AT&T and Verizon, also to charging customers for conferencing services they reserve those access fees for their own conferencing services.
As mentioned above, with free conference calling, there are no organizer fees. So there is no double billing for these services. Consumers pay for a regular phone call with the same three components — originate, transmit, and terminate — any call. In other words, the call costs the same as any other call under the customer’s calling plan. But the host and participants of the conference call join for free.
In November 2011, FCC) issued a 732-page order on Inter-Carrier Compensation. Which are including rules governing revenue sharing. The FCC cites Section 251(b)(5) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to adjust termination access rates for all calls. In 2012 and 2013, and then for the following three years. The midpoints were lowered three times until they hit $0 in 2017.  These mostly sub-1 cent charges were replaced by access restoration charges (ARCs). That phone carrier added to each customer’s bill. In other words, each phone company would keep the termination access fee they had to pay to connect each call. While charging consumers more, whether they made the call or not. The order has been challenged on multiple fronts in a federal appeals court.
As for revenue sharing, the order adds a measure for high-volume call traffic. That would immediately reduce termination-of-access charges to the lowest rates of any carrier in the state.
In the UK, toll-free conference calling providers in the UK initially used the 0870 prefix in order to get a rebate from every call. So that from the phone company that owned the number. However, in April 2009, Ofcom, the UK’s independent regulator and competition authority for the telecommunications industry, announced the removal of rebates payable to telecommunications providers when using 0870 numbers.  The system soon moved to the 0844 and 0871 prefixes to preserve revenue sharing arrangements. Which meant that while you would not pay the conference call provider directly. You would dial an expensive toll number to access your conference calls.
Recently in the UK, a very small number of teleconferencing providers have started using 03 numbers. Which are included in the bundled call log according to Ofcom regulations. This provides the option of setting up a conference call at no cost, as the conference call is included in the minutes package offered by most UK network operators. The general trend among UK companies is to use more numbers up to 03 for inbound services, as these numbers are more suitable for callers.
Customers who claim to hear background noise when using free conferencing services. They have noticed a noticeable difference in sound quality between paid and free conference calls. This rarely happens with premium teleconferencing services. Senior Conference
Here, participants call toll-free numbers, such as toll-free numbers in the United States. Meetings are often hosted by a party who believes the value in the call justifies the cost. This could be a business owner, a nonprofit board member, an educator, a lawyer, or an expert in any particular field. The person then usually pays for the call. Senior sessions are also available for charitable fundraisers.