Dec 02, 2020

Best Free Conference Call Solutions

Free conference calls, historically useful, are now a key piece of communicating with your vendors, customers, and remote team due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Since small business owners always need to save a few pennies, we’ve rounded up the best free conference call options. Features vary between products, but all the ones listed below offer some variation of screen sharing, host controls, and mobile apps. Most work with any modern browser and many have desktop apps or browser extensions, too.

Some vendors offer add-ons if you need a bit more than the free plan offers (e.g., the free plan meets all your requirements except for the time limit). But don’t let budget constraints deter you from purchasing a paid plan if you need it—equipment financing is always an option to consider if you need to purchase hardware or software for your conference calls.

The free conference call solutions below are listed in alphabetical order. For quick reference, a few key parameters are listed for each of the product’s free plans.

FreeConference

FreeConference offers traditional audio conference calls, as well as video conferences and web meetings. It’s the only vendor that offers free international dial-in numbers from a variety of countries.

The free plan includes:

FreeConferenceCall

FreeConferenceCall (not to be confused with the above FreeConference vendor) supports audio conference calls but has also added video and screen-sharing options. They have a “pay what you can” model that includes the option to pay nothing at all (although this may change when the coronavirus pandemic ends).

The free plan includes:

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is slowly being replaced by Google Chat and Google Meet. Consider using Google Meet instead of Google Hangouts if you already have a G Suite account.

Google Hangouts doesn’t require all participants to have a Google account, but expect to jump through hoops to make it work for someone without a Google account.

The free plan includes:

Google Meet

Google Meet is the future for Google web and video conferencing solutions. A G Suite account has been required to use it, but Google is rolling out the product to anyone with a valid email address.

Participation and time limits have varied during the pandemic but are scheduled to revert to the numbers below on September 30.

The free plan includes:

Lark

Lark bills itself as the “next-gen collaboration suite” that eases collaboration across multiple communication channels (chat, video, audio, calendars, and documents).

The free plan includes:

Skype

Skype, a Microsoft product, allows you to hold either audio or video conferences but requires the Skype app (or Skype website) to remain in the free tier.

The free plan includes:

Note that Microsoft provides another conferencing solution, Microsoft Teams, that is not in this list as the description of its free tier is murky.

UberConference

UberConference, a subsidiary of DialPad, is a logical choice for DialPad customers. However, it’s a solid choice for non-customers, too.

The free plan includes:

Webex

Webex, a Cisco product, has offered conferencing solutions for over 25 years.

The free plan includes:

Zoom

Zoom has exploded in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. The free plan uses the Zoom meeting functionality, not the Zoom Phone product.

The free plan includes:

How to Choose a Free Conference Call Solution

So how do you select the best free conference call product for your business? While every business has different needs, here are some requirements to consider.

As you review products, check with each vendor for up-to-date information as the features available in each free plan often change.

Use these free conference call tools—an important part of your suite of remote tools—to help you build better remote work relationships with your team, vendors, and customers.

About the author

Katherine O'Malley
Katherine O'Malley
Katherine O'Malley is a contributor to the Lendio blog. A technology geek at heart, she splits her time between traveling, freelance writing, database administration work, and implementing SEO on her travel blog. In her free time, she loves to research the challenges small-to-midsize tourist suppliers face and find ways that technology can help them out.

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