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The free conference call business model: How can it be free?

A lot of people have (very valid) questions about the free conference call business model. It’s not surprising people are curious. Conference calling is part and parcel of daily life – and not just in business. That such a powerful and ubiquitous tool should be free can seem quite remarkable for two reasons.

Firstly, we tend to associate value with cost (pretty logically). How can something that’s simple enough to be free be so useful? Actually, it’s in part the fact that they can be free that makes them so valuable for many demographics. For example, free conference calling allows charities to maintain internal and external communications without eating into their budgets. That means they can do even more good, and foster collaborations with other organisations. At the same time, they aren’t having to use funds that could be put to researching how best to achieve their philanthropic goals, or hiring talented people who can help them do so. Likewise, free NHS conference calls mean telecommunications aren’t using up money that should be put to treating people.

The second reason why the mere existence of free conference calls can seem surprising is that there’s a lot of cynicism around. People often think that if someone can stand to gain money, even at others’ expense, they will. That raises questions about why any conference call bridge would choose to offer its services for free. If so many people use conference calls so often, by charging for them the conference call bridge could make a sizeable profit. Why and how can anyone be providing free conference calls?

The free conference call business model and the participant

Let’s start with the most basic aspect of free teleconferencing. The first question that conference call novices might have is: ‘is it really free for me to join the call?’. After all, newbies likely aren’t going to be hosting any virtual meetings before taking the first step as participant. No matter how clearly it’s expressed, people can be hesitant to trust that even just joining the call can be free. And it’s not so surprising. The telecommunications industry has lost a lot of trust in the past decades. In fact, in 2016 it even received the second most complaints of any sector (only retail got more!).

With trust being so low, transparency and honesty are vital. And that’s what WHYPAY? is all about. We’re very clear not just about the fact that dialling into our conference call rooms is free, but why it’s free.

It’s a simple idea. As simple, really, as two little numbers: 03. This is the prefix of every dial-in number we provide. It turns out 03 really is the magic number. That’s because Ofcom rulings mean all calls to numbers beginning 03 have to be included in the caller’s bundled minutes. As long as you have minutes available in your contract, joining a WHYPAY? conference call from your mobile won’t cost a penny. You can conference call from a landline too! Calls to 03 numbers are charged at the standard rate for landlines. That means it’s just like calling the 01 or 02 geographic numbers you’re familiar with. Essentially, that equates to not charged at all.

The thing to highlight here is that it isn’t just dialling the number that’s free. The entire duration of the call is free (again, provided there are bundled minutes available). While some numbers have both a connection cost (a price charged just for dialling) and then an extra price per minute spent on the call, WHYPAY? calls have neither. So you can breathe easy, and chat to your heart’s content.

 

Can conference calls be free for the host?

We’ve established that it’s possible to join a conference call for free. You can also stay on that call for as long as you want without incurring extra charges. But what about organising a conference call?

With some providers, it can get trickier here. Companies can charge subscription fees, for example, for people to have the account necessary to host an audio meeting. Or there might be a one-time joining charge. Others simply make the host bear the brunt of the cost, providing free conference calls for participants because the host is footing the bill for dialling a more expensive number.

With WHYPAY?, you can avoid all of this. We don’t charge anything for providing our service. That means that when you sign up, we don’t even need any payment details. Seriously, try it out below – it takes less than a minute!

Create a FREE Teleconference

You simply fill in your details, so we can provide you with the access information, and voila! Your very own conference call room is created. It’s yours to use whenever you want, for as long as you want, and with up to 50 participants. You can schedule ahead, and even get a handy calendar attachment. Or you can be spontaneous and enjoy our reservationless conference calling. The power’s in your hands!

 

Is there a paid version within the free conference call business model?

Of course, if you do want to upgrade to get some special features, there are paid plans too. This builds in some the potential to make a little bit of extra profit into the free conference call business model. More importantly, though, it allows our users to tailor their teleconferences to their needs. Some people require extra features because of the nature of their conference calls. Others really just want to be able to make a simple group phone call to hold a weekly catch-up.

Crucially, we don’t force people into the paid options by taking basic features out of our free forever bundle. And we don’t charge exorbitant rates for either of our paid plans, either. Plus is just £4/month, while Pro is £8/month. With them, you can get nifty tools like call recording, moderator controls to maintain perfect teleconference etiquette, and even custom branding.

If you opt for the Plus or Pro options, the conference calls themselves are still free. By that we mean that it won’t cost you anything to join each call, nor will there be any charge per minute. You’re only paying for the added controls and capabilities. The same goes for your participants. For them, the only discernible difference will be that there are cool new features streamlining the call. Everyone will still dial a (totally free) 03 number.

Create a FREE Teleconference

 

Is the free conference call business and example of corporate kindness?

This tends to be the biggest question when it comes to the free conference call business model. If the state of affairs today were different, people might believe the free conference call business model relies entirely on philanthropy. That’s unlikely to hold water, though. Nowadays, people are very doubtful, if not altogether dismissing, of the idea that corporations might want to do anything good or philanthropic.

Still, such damning viewpoints do miss one critical point. If today’s corporations aren’t too bothered about the world’s wellbeing (and that seems an unjust generalisation), today’s society is. If we allow that the money has the power, and the consumers and shareholders have the money, then what matters is what they care about, not the corporation. And that’s why corporate social responsibility doesn’t need to depend on philanthropy.

In fact, if a company can show that it’s doing some good in the world, it generally becomes more profitable. In fact, failing to invest in CSR so can cost companies the best employees, key investors and customers. That’s why becoming a corporate sponsor of non-profit organisations like Wonderful can be such a great idea. Particularly because it has an exponentially bigger impact than a straightforward donation, multiplying the good your company is doing.

But as much as we at WHYPAY? would love the opportunity to polish our halos, that’s not what our free conference call business model is about. It isn’t a charitable endeavour or an example of corporate social responsibility. It’s a clever way of making a bit of money and providing a great service, by taking the focus off making as much money as possible.

 

How does the business model work for the provider?

The idea is really a simple one. No hidden charges, scandalous under-the-table deals or wizardry to find here. For every teleconference WHYPAY? connects, it receives a small out-payment from BT. The amount per call is negligble – a fraction of a penny. But by maintaining a high enough volume, WHYPAY? can generate enough revenue to provide genuinely, absolutely, catch-free free conference calls. The free conference call business model really is a business model, and it is sustainable.

After all, with conference calls being so useful, finding people who want to place genuinely free ones isn’t so hard. Keeping call numbers high just depends on people hearing (and believing) that free conference calls really are possible. Aside from that, they have to trust that they won’t be sacrificing on quality or reliability. Here, for humility’s sake, we like to let our customers take the mic. If you’re unsure about WHYPAY?’s service, let us point you toward our Trustpilot reviews. Or we can let the numbers speak for themselves. Last month, we hosted enough teleconferences to save our users well over £1 million! Join the saving by holding your free conference call today.

Create a FREE Teleconference

 

 

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