Last night, our call was thrown into some disarray because those who dialled into the 800 number for Spark audio conferencing were met with a message that this number was no longer in service, and callers should dial 083-033 instead.
It's not my intention to start a rant/complaint thread. I understand that looking at this commercially, 800 access may not have been sustainable although it is offered by some other providers in this space.
My reason for starting the thread is to hopefully get some answers from some of the Spark reps here or others who know about this situation regarding the 083-033 number and whether it's status may have changed.
My concern is that there is a lot of variation in the way carriers treat this special number. Last I looked into this, Vodafone, and even Spark itself, didn't treat calls to this number as a call to a standard landline for the purposes of a cell phone plan. So even if you have one of the higher end plans offering unlimited minutes, you still might get quite an unpleasant bill if you dial into 083-033 and participate in a long conference call.
It's inconsistent for VOIP carriers too. I assume that if you have Spark's own VOIP service that they bundle with fibre to replace POTS, you're not going to be charged to call 083-033. But I'm a 2Talk user, and they don't count this call as a standard number, which also means you can end up with a decent bill for a long call.
So my questions are whether any of this has been renegotiated in the light of the removal of the toll free number. And if not, whether there's any chance Spark could introduce standard local calling numbers in the major centres to help those who want to participate via cellphones or VOIP carriers other than Spark.
If not, although I'm usually skeptical about free services, it looks like the audio quality of FreeConferenceCall.com is surprisingly good.