As I’m starting to offer conference calls as a training solution, I’d like to take a few moments to review long distance charges. As a long time Vonage customer, I forget that some people still pay for Long Distance. I’ve created this article to give some options for keeping your long distance charges down to the absolute minimum.
Quick Note: It’s Not Your Biggest Cost
Before I get into the techniques, I thought I’d share a concept. When you are considering a conference call style training session, long distance charges don’t represent most of your investment. It’s your very valuable time that you need to consider. Example: If you value your time at $20/hr (low I know), the potential long distance charges of 10 cents a minute ($6/hr), is really a drop in the bucket.
Most cell phones include free long distance. You are being charged for your minutes. That said, if you are one of the many people who never reach the limit of their monthly pool of minutes, this may work well.
Would you like to never pay for long distance again? You can invest $40 in a magic jack and that includes a year of phone service. Not only does this give you a way to call people without paying for long distance, you can also use this as a second line, maybe to give to telemarketers, or use for classified ads. After your first year it’s only $20/yr, or about $1.67/mo. If you currently have long distance charges of 10 cents a minute, you would need to use 400 minutes within the first year for this to be a break even prospect.
While I plan on getting a magic jack, I haven’t yet, so I can’t give you my personal experience with it. I do know someone who uses one all the time and she is happy with it.
While it Skype used to be free, and still is if you are calling another Skype number, it costs money otherwise. It is inexpensive and probably the best computer to phone voip (Voice Over IP) service available. They have a pay as you go plan for as little as 2.4 cents per minute within the US (except Alaska & Hawaii). They also have a $2.99/mo unlimited plan. This doesn’t give you a phone number that people can call you on, so I think Magic Jack is a better value, however the quality may be better on Skype. I have no experience with the quality on Magic Jack, but I’ve used Skype and the quality was very good.
Why Not Use a Toll Free Number
I’ve done a lot of research on this. While I can do a conference using a long distance number for free, the least expensive Toll Free service I’ve found is 3.9 cents per minute, per person. If I have a call with 25 people on it, the cost would be nearly $1/minute. I would be willing to pay this except the majority of people.
I hope this helps you save money if you don’t have free long distance. Feel free to contact me with any concerns.