So, with this crazy COVID-19 pandemic it might be useful to have a conference call number to facilitate physical distancing.
This is a how to set up a conference call number using the very cost effective voip.ms service.
If you set this up using a local number it will cost you less than 1 cent per minute per caller. For example a call with 8 people dialing in that lasted 2 hours your cost will be under $5.
Step 1: Create an account at voip.ms
Please use my referral link: https://voip.ms/en/invite/MjYwOTA2
If you use the referral link we both get $10 in credits.
Here is the non-referral link: https://voip.ms/login?redirect=/m/index.php
Step 2: Add funds to your account
Under Finances click add funds to do this.
- You need to add a minimum of $15 to your account to proceed. If you used the referral link above you will get an additional $10 of account credit to work with.
Step 3: Order (set up) a DID (phone number)
Under DID Numbers click Order DID(s)
Once your DID is set up, write down the number.
- The cheapest option is a local number in your area, but you can also pick a toll-free number if you want at a slightly higher cost.
- Note: You need to pick a per minute plan to use the audio conferencing feature.
- A local number in Ontario Canada costs $0.85/month and $0.009/minute (that’s 9/10th of a cent) under the per minute plan.
- A toll free number costs $1.25/month and $0.027/minute (that’s 2.7 cents) under the per minute plan.
Step 4: Setup the audio conference
Under DID Numbers click Audio Conferencing
Click add a conference
- Each Conference is like a room, anyone who is allowed into this conference is in the same “room”.
- So if you are setting this up for multiple people to use at the same time you need enough conferences for everyone.
- To control access you can assign participants on the participant tab. This list shows all of the participants for all conferences. If you have multiple conferences (aka rooms) then you need to review the settings for each one so that each participant is linked to the correct room. I would suggest keeping this simple and having a single participant linked to each room so that there is a 1 to 1 relationship between rooms and pin numbers.
Step 5: Link your DID to the audio conferencing
Click DID numbers > Manage DID(s)
In the DID numbers table click the edit DID icon in the actions column for the DID you want to link to the conference.
In the routing pick audio conferencing and pick the conference you created earlier
Click the “click here to apply changes” at the bottom of the email.
- You can also change a few other features here also. I would recommend turning on the caller ID lookup, it does cost $0.008 (8/10th of a cent) per lookup, but without you won’t know who is dialing in.
Step 6: Test it
You can now call the DID number and it will ask you for your pin that you set up in step 4.
I would test that different people can call in using the PINs you established and that they end up in the correct “room” (conference).
Optional: Check on how much it’s being used / costing you
If you want to see how much this is being used, you can run a “Call Detail Report” under the CDR and Reports tab.
Note, I don’t think there is any way to differentiate the usage by conference (rooms) or participants, so all calls to a DID will be charged to that DID and you can’t find out which room they used. If you need to separate costs for different people/groups you need to sign up for another DID.