Conference calls – the hidden cost

Kieron James, board member of the Federation of Communications Services (FCS), warns of recently-introduced charges that could lead to unexpectedly high bills when dialling into conference calls.

15685387682_955c30d788_kFor the estimated four million Britons working flexibly, dialling into a conference call is a convenient way to conduct meetings and save the expense of travelling to meetings. However, many people may be completely unaware of new call charges affecting the amount of money spent on conference call services, particularly if they are dialling in from a mobile phone.

On 1 July last year, Ofcom introduced charges for service numbers (numbers starting 084, 087, 09 or 118). Many of these numbers are used to dial in to conference call services and, since the changes, calls are now costing up to 95% more. Despite this increase, there is little awareness of the issue and its potential impact on workers, who may use these services regularly to connect with colleagues and clients.

The average service charge for calling the 08 numbers provided by six UK conferencing services is now an additional 6.64p per minute. Since Ofcom made its announcement, some mobile providers have also significantly increased their access rates – O2 has raised its access charge from 25p per minute to 45p per minute with other mobile phone operators charging a similar rate.

Research into conference call service providers using these service numbers shows that the average charge for a 40 minute call will now be £11.31 from a mobile or £6.16 from a landline.

Flexible workers should be aware of these charges when they dial into meetings via a conference call service. In the digital age, there are many online-based services that offer a more efficient and cost effective service for those dialling into conference calls on a regular basis.

Kieron James is founder of free conference call service WHYPAY?

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