I saw a new app in Cydia for conference calling over VoIP.  That got me ta thin’kin, what are my conference call options with the iphone?  Leaving out typical conference call services that work on ‘any’ phone, I did a quick look around and found an app called ifbyphone. Before I get into it, lets look at the steps as written in ‘ehow‘ to create a conference call with the iphone out-of-the-box:

Turn on your iPhone and make the first call.

Hit the “Add Call” button on your phone’s screen. The first call is put on hold temporarily. This allows you to speak with the second line privately before the calls are merged into a conference call.

Call the other conference call participants using the same process. If other participants are calling you, put the other calls on hold. Choose “Answer” and then select the “Merge” option.

Merge all of the calls into one conference call. To do this, select “Merge Calls.” At this point, you may start the conference call.

Drop a call from the conference. Tap the “Conference” button and then select the red phone symbol next to the person you want to drop from the call. Choose “End Call” to drop them from the conference.

Talk one-on-one with someone in the conference. Select the “Conference” button and hit “Private” next to the person you want to talk with. Press the “Merge Call” button to return to the conference.

(note: only the person who placed the original call can manage the conference)

Simple right?  So why would we want another app?  Two reasons… VoIP, Scheduling and groups.
The reason for VoIP is clear enough, cheaper international calls (or local calls if you use too many minutes.  BTW, check this app out for tracking minutes! 🙂  The app I came across iconference on Cydia, offers VoIP w/ conferencing, but this will only work if everyone is on the jailbroken iphone, so this is out. There are a number of apps and web services out there for VoIP on the iphone.  I have truphone and Fring myself, however neither offer conference calls (that I know of.. correct me if I’m wrong)  However, Talkety does!  But, you have to have the pro account.  The site is down right now so I can not get the price, but I have a feeling that unless you do a lot of international calling, you may be better off just sticking to the iphone.
Scheduling; using ifbyphone.  Well, this is just plain slick and I will be using this next time I have to organize a conference call. Here is a blurb from their site:

Using this account and your iPhone Voice Broadcast or Conference Call app, you can select a group of co- workers, friends or family members and with just a couple of clicks send them a voice broadcast or schedule a conference call. All it takes for either app is three simple steps:

  1. Create a group by selecting contacts from your contacts on your iPhone or iPod Touch
  2. Schedule the broadcast or conference call
  3. When you are ready to record your voice message, or at the scheduled time of your conference call, Ifbyphone will call you on your iPhone or the alternative telephone number(s) you provided.
That’s all! Ifbyphone will deliver your iPhone Voice Broadcast or Conference Call at the scheduled time.

I LOVE the fact that this app will call everyone else when its time for the meeting!  Gold! Right there. And you do not have to jailbreak.
There is a pretty good site that lists all of your iphone VoIP options.  http://www.voip-sol.com Check them out.

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