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  5. How to Compare Conference Call Providers

While there are the endless features, levels of service and oh-so many different ways to connect to a conference call, we’ve found that over the years, the biggest concern when it comes to comparing conference call providers is when it comes down to price.

  • What is a minute?
  • What does ‘bridging minutes’ mean?
  • Who picks up the cost of the call?

So – what is a minute. Or, more to the point – let’s talk about bridging minutes. Basically, when it comes to conference calling, when a provider talks about minutes, especially when it’s ‘x’ minutes for a pricing plan, they’re talking about bridging minutes. So, if a call with 4 people lasts 10 minutes – you’ve not used 10 minutes, you’ve actually used 40.

Why is it like this?

Well, let’s say that you typically have a conference call with 4 people that lasts 10 minutes – that’s 40 minutes used on bridging minutes. So, why does the provider not just charge more per minute so it’s easily understandable as 10 minutes?

Unfortunately, not every conference call is the same. While you may include 4 attendees, others may have 50 people on a call. Now you can see the difference. So, if a conference call provider state that the cost is 3p per minute – you need to take in to account this is on a per-participant basis. So, 4 attendees for 10 minutes = 40 minutes. Times 40 minutes by 3p = £1.20.

Meanwhile, the call with 50 people in attendance that lasts 20 minutes costs £x. And that’s broken down by:

50 people x 20 minutes = 1,000 minutes. 1k mins x 3p per min = £30.

And who pays for the call? Well, this can be split several ways.

There are many “free” conference call providers out there that offer conference calls via a 0844 phone number. These are usually more expensive per minute (see Ofcom website) but paid on an individual basis by each caller. While this seems cheaper, it can quickly rack up costs as you may be paying more than 20p per minute, just for your individual usage!

If you’re dialing in to a geographical number, like a 020 number, the costs is usually associated with the leader of the call. In fact, the cost is usually associated with the leader if not an 0844 number, but it’s always best to check with the call host to ensure you don’t get a surprise bill. The good news it, if it’s geographical, this can typically come within your inclusive minutes, provided by your telephone provider.

View and compare the UK’s top conference call providers here.