Free Audio Conferencing Tools

Men at conference

TechCrunch/Flikr/CC BY 2.0 

Meeting online has become an important tool for being productive and efficient for businesses, clubs, academic and social groups, religious and political organizations, and more. There are a number of issues that you have to manage when organizing and holding an audio conference, so you'll want to choose the service that will minimize problems. 

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What We Like
  • Offers mobile apps on Android and iOS.

  • Easy to identify who's speaking with visuals.

What We Don't Like
  • Only 5 max users for free account, or 17 after completing tasks.

  • Can't record with free account.

This tool allows you to manage your participants visually. That is, you get to see, through their iconified pictures, a series of attributes that give you information on whether they are talking or silent or whether they are doing anything else. UberConference has an interesting list of features for the management of professional audio conferences and even has apps for iOS and Android.

The main limitation is the maximum number of participants, which is only five for each new freely registered user. You can bring that to 17 if you do certain simple things here and there. If that is still not sufficient, you need to upgrade to Pro version, which costs $10 a month, and which gives you room for 40 users, a local number of the area code of your choice, and some other features.

Note that you cannot record your conferences for free, as this feature comes with the Pro plan.

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What We Like
  • Host up to 96 people in a conference.

  • Free call recording.

What We Don't Like
  • Not as feature-rich as other conference services.

  • Cannot customize welcome message.

This allows you to host 96 persons on one conference. The use is simple and everything is free, including call recording and some other stuff. There aren’t many features, but it does have some by-services like the HD version which is also free and is available for the iPhone and Android. This version can accommodate up to 1000 participants in a call, and all calls can last up to 6 hours. Conferences may be reservationless, i.e., without any scheduling, and they can start on the spot.

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What We Like
  • Hosts up to 400 participants in conference calls.

  • Free video conferencing and screen sharing.

What We Don't Like
  • Free account only hosts up to 5 web participants.

  • Must pay for custom welcome message.

Don’t confuse this one with the one above, their names are similar. Here too, there are many features for free, with up to 150 participants per session. This is a scorer feature that also has apps for the different popular mobile platforms. There is the possibility of scheduling conferences or have them start without reservation.

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What We Like
  • Easy to set up, and fast to initiate a conference call.

  • Screen sharing.

  • Can integrate with your calendar.

What We Don't Like
  • Program installation required for screen sharing.

  • Some lag occasionally when screen sharing.

JoineMe is a very simple tool for collaborating online, especially through screen-sharing and file sharing. It works using your browser and can even work on the iPhone, iPad, and Android phones. It shines by its simplicity and ease of use. Its main feature is screen-sharing. It also allows file sharing and other features for collaboration. JoinMe is also a decent free webinar and online meeting tool that allows up to 250 participants for free. It uses VoIP for the Internet calling in conferences and also allows chat.

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Google Voice

What We Like
  • Free and easy to use.

  • Ability to record conference calls.

  • Use your own mobile number (for a fee).

What We Don't Like
  • Not a business-grade conferencing service; better for making simple group calls.

  • Limited to 10 participants.

  • No extra features for managing conference calls found in other services.

  • Landline numbers can't be ported over to Google Voice.

You can have audio conference calls with Google Voice as well, but you are very limited: you can have only 10 participants, including you and there is no management tool or any other feature. You should not be expecting much from GV, but just be happy that this conferencing service can save you at times.