We review four of the leading free conference call services to reveal the best free conference call service for your business.
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We Recommend For Free Conference Calling: UberConference
Limited to ten callers on
Up to 96 callers on free plan
Limited to five
Limited to 10
Most desktop browsers;
Most desktop browsers;
>– HD Quality Audio–
– Call recording– Mobile
– Video chat–
– No PINs for callers
THE BOTTOM LINE: Well-designed interface with excellent visual caller management; limited to only ten call participants on the free plan.
- Excellent visual display for easy call management
- Integrated social media functionality
- Call muting and ‘earmuff’ feature for private conversations
- Built-in document sharing for real time collaboration
- Post call analytics
- Operates on desktop browsers with no software downloads required
- Smart phone app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices
- Free subscription is limited to ten call participants
- No BlackBerry app currently available
THE LONG STORY: Designed by the tech wizards behind Google Voice, UberConference presents something of a revolution in free voice conferencing. Back in the bad old days when conference calls where patched together over a speakerphone in an crowded boardroom, it was close to impossible to identify the speaker, know who had just connected and from where, or who had disconnected during the call.
It was a disaster of disorganization, and a problem that was not necessarily solved when the internet came along. That is, until now. The beauty of UberConference is in its visual interface that lets you know who is connected to the call, and identifies who is speaking at any time.
Photos of callers are presented in your display and small icons indicate their status. You can also break out of the conference for a private talk with a single participant with the ‘earmuff’ feature and mute any of the callers to eliminate a noisy line or turf a rogue participant.
Particularly strong is UberConference’s integration with document sharing services Evernote and Box. This allows you to share documents in call and collaborate with your call participants in real time in what is a truly interactive conference call.
Another excellent feature is the social media integration that is built into each caller’s profile you see on your display screen. Simply click on the appropriate icon during a call to reveal a participant’s career background via LinkedIn or their latest Twitter comments in real time. This is a particularly useful feature for identifying a participant’s relevant areas of expertise and staying in touch with the special interests of your callers.
As part of the free subscription, you also receive call analytics at the end of the call, and as the system is compatible with most desktop browsers, there’s no need to download any software to get started.
You can also take the show on the road with the UberConference app available for free download to iPhone, iPad and Android devices – although BlackBerry users are not catered for at the time of writing.
The major limitation of the free service is that it’s restricted to just ten call participants. On the plus side, the Pro subscription is well priced at just $10 per month and allows up to 100 call participants. You also get a local phone number with a user-specified area code, a call recording service and outbound dialing.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Host up to 96 call participants for free; poor visual call management and limited features.
- Host up to 96 call participants for free
- Free call recording, plus a call playback feature
- Free iPhone and Android smartphone apps
- Operates on desktop browsers with no software downloads required
- Poor visual management of callers
- Outdated user interface
- No in-call document sharing or collaboration
- Limited features
THE LONG STORY: The big benefit here is that you can host up to 96 call participants for up to six hours at a time, for free. This far exceeds the free caller limits of other service providers and if volume is important to your business, then FreeConferenceCall is ideal.
You also get free call recording — your calls can be download in WAV or MP3 formats and call participants can also access call recordings by call a playback number. And free iPhone and Android smartphone apps make it easy to take your conference calls mobile.
But what you gain in quantity, you lose in quality. The visual interface is well behind other free conference call service providers and offers no real way to visually manage your callers – which can quickly become a problem when you’re hosting very large conference calls.
Navigation feels prehistoric compared with other platforms available, and you also miss out on a lot of the more sophisticated features that you get with other service providers, such as efficient document sharing, easy real-time collaboration and social media integration.
Our feeling here is that if you need to hold predominately one-way conference calls with large numbers of your regional sales team or remote staff and you’re not put off by an outdated visual interface, then this is the best solution for you.
On the other hand, if you expect any real in-call collaboration or are likely to get frustrated with a poorly designed user interface, then you should look elsewhere.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Simple interface and call management is excellent for beginners; limited free features and no international access.
- Simple to use
- Personalized links for easy call connection
- No caller PINs required
- Browser-based operation means no software downloads
- Free subscription is limited to just five call participants
- Only available for US callers
- Limited free features
THE LONG STORY: Speek is built around the concept of bringing simplicity to call conferencing. As such, it’s excellent for businesspeople who might be new to or unfamiliar with call conferencing and will get you up and running within minutes.
On the other hand, it’s Speek’s simplicity that will be its eventual downfall as many of its more sophisticated features are exclusive to its paid subscription. As you outgrow Speeks limited list of free features, you’ll inevitably seek the more sophisticated functionality of free conference call service provides such as UberConference and Wiggio.
The unique thing about Speek is its customized Speek Link that allows you to assign your business name to a dedicated URL. Inviting participants to your call is as simple as sharing your URL with them, which in turn eliminates the need for your callers to keep track of PIN codes to access calls. They simply surf to your call URL, enter their name and number and Speek will call them at the time of the scheduled call.
This not only makes Speek easier for the call host to use, but makes connecting to a conference call simple for clients or employees who might be unfamiliar with the concept.
However, Speek saves many of its more sophisticated features for its paying customers. The free version limits you to only five call participants and does not include in-call file sharing or call recording. For $10 per month, however, the Pro plan allows unlimited call participants and access to a longer list of features.
Depending on your location and the nature of your business, another big deal breaker could be no international access for Speek callers outside of the US. Although we are assured this is a work in progress.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Excellent for collaborating with small numbers of internal stakeholders with audio and video chat; no call recording.
- Voice, video and chat features
- Smartphone iOS app
- Good list of free features included
- Integrated with other collaboration tools
- No call recording
- No Android or Blackberry app
THE LONG STORY: Wiggio isn’t strictly a stand-alone conferencing tool, but rather provides free call conferencing as part of its greater collaboration solutions.
Wiggio is essentially built around the concept of helping your defined work group collaborate on a multitude of tasks. After completing the registration process, you’ll be asked to create a group, which is essentially a list of people who you want to communicate with and invite to be conference call participants – this is limited to 10 people in the free version.
You can invite group members to audio conference calls, virtual meetings with video, or text-based group chat.
The sophisticated sharing functionality is a real advantage of using Wiggio, and call participants can share screens, presentations and documents in call. There is also an excellent whiteboard feature that allows you to present and illustrate complex concepts in real time.
Some basic conference management tools are included for free – such as granting callers permission to use audio or video, and the ability to mute a caller or chat with a caller via private text.
Upgrading to the paid version will buy you unlimited group access, private branding, an admin portal and custom URL.
While Wiggio does allow 10 call participants for free – double UberConference and Speek’s paltry five callers – we’ve marked it slightly below UberConference due to its less intuitive visual display and lack of social media integration.
When do I need a paid solution?
The four conference call service providers we’ve reviewed here all provide excellent free conference call facilities. However – with the exception of FreeConferenceCall – all limit the number of call participants under their free plans and hold back various premium features for their paid subscribers.
You’ll most likely need to upgrade to a paid service if you require more than five to 10 call participants, or if you need access to advanced features such as local or toll-free phone numbers, customized branding, international access and the ability to dial out.
UberConference includes an extensive selection of free features in the first instance and its superior visual call management interface makes it our pick as both a free a paid service. At just $10 per month, the paid subscription offers plenty of value.