cancel
Showing results forย 
would you rather see results forย 
Did you mean:ย 
Need help?

Please re-introduce 3 way calling for duration of Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions

Submitted by Lightkeeper 01-04-2020 | 5 Comments

Status: New
  1. New ideas

  2. Investigating

  3. Accepted

  4. Delivered

Step 1 of 4

This useful phone feature ceased last August (2019). To only 3 numbers is not really a conference call, yet it could now be so useful for many customers locked down at home, away from families far and wide, especially our elderly folks. If you could also increase the callers, that would be so helpful. Thanks in advance ๐Ÿ™‚

Get more ideas related to: Phone

Please re-introduce 3 way calling for duration of Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions

This useful phone feature ceased last August (2019). To only 3 numbers is not really a conference call, yet it could now be so useful for many customers locked down at home, away from families far and wide, especially our elderly folks. If you could also increase the callers, that would be so helpful. Thanks in advance ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you think?
5 Comments
Conversation Starter

Can you clarify this idea?

 

As far as I'm aware, three way calling still exists. You make (or receive) one call, then press flash, then make a second call, talk to second recipient - and then when you want to swap between the two remote users, or join them into a three-way call, or split them back into two separate calls, or hang up on one of them while keeping the other one online, you press flash and then dial a code for the specific operation you want to do.

 

If you want to join more than two users besides yourself into a single conference call, you should either use a VOIP phone, or use an externally hosted conference service (such as Zoom or Cisco WebEx). It is very unusual for providers of landline phone services anywhere in the world to allow for the management of more than two concurrent calls on one line - after all, the only way to use the phone itself to manage what happens with calls, is by sending flash or DTMF signals, or switch between on-hook and off-hook. It ain't exactly user-friendly. The same thing is true of ATAs that allow you to connect old-fashioned analog phones to VOIP services.

 

One potential way that a landline phone service provider like TalkTalk (or an ATA) could get around that user-interface limitation, is to give you a separate web-based interface by which you can manage incoming or outgoing calls, and which one is connected to your analog phone and when. But if that's the sort of functionality you want, you might as well dial into the access number of a third party service that provides such a service when you want it, and hang up when you're done. I don't see the point of baking this sort of thing directly into a legacy non-VOIP landline service, given that it's all going to be shut down in or around 2025 anyway.

 

But maybe I've misunderstood.

 

Popular Poster

Sorry the point of my question was unclear. Happy to clarify.

 

This was a recent TalkTalk phone feature which ceased August 2019.

How they achieved it technically is for another interesting subject.

 

The major point is that it was simple, especially for non tech savvy folk, often but certainly not always elderly, to use without any expense or complications of internet and smartphone apps. Exactly why I asked, I had people in mind.

 

While some of us have been working via Zoom etc for far too much of the last 4 weeks ๐Ÿ˜ž not all want that sophistication or have the knowledge or equipment to use it.

 

3 way calling (to 3 numbers only) existed on TT before and so there was a system only 9 months ago. That's why I asked. Too simple and likely would be underused I guess for these smarter days.

 

BTW, what key is for press 'flash'?  A hash key typo?

 

Stay safe and well folks.

Conversation Starter

Thanks for clarifying that.

 

"flash" - also sometimes called "hook flash", in the UK it's sometimes called "recall" or "R", but I don't like calling it "recall" because I think some people might confuse that with a last-number-redial button.

 

I'm not aware of this previous three-way-calling-to-three-numbers service you describe, sorry - although I'm still a bit confused. Surely if there's three remote user numbers, that would make it a four-way-calling service, wouldn't it? Hence why I assumed, the fact you call it a "three way calling" service rather than a "four way calling" service implies that one of the three numbers is the phone service user who initiates it, and that the other two numbers are the remote users - in much the way that most three-way-calling services on analog phones work, not just in the UK but also abroad and on VOIP ATAs.

 

So can you remember what made it a three-way-calling service rather than a four-way-calling service? Do you still have any printed or PDF user guides for it? Reason I ask is because maybe TalkTalk had some other special name for the feature you describe. Once we know how they used to brand it, I guess that will make it a lot easier to pin down an answer to the question of whether that service is ever likely to come back or not. Thanks.

 

Conversation Starter

Actually, the penny has dropped - it's possible for multiple phone service users to "daisy-chain" separate instances of three-way calling services, so as to join a potentially unlimited number of people in on a conference call.

 

For example, suppose phone service user B has a three-way-calling service. They use it to call both phone service user A and phone service user C, and join them in on a three-way-call. However, from the perspective of phone service users A and C, they're technically just on ordinary calls to a single remote end, even though they can both hear and speak to two other remote users. As a consequence, phone service user C can use their own three-way-calling service to connect to phone service user D and join them on their other call, meaning that phone service users A, B, C and D are all on a single conference call that's daisy-chained through users B and C. Either user D or user A could then use their own three-way calling service to join in a fifth user - and so on.

 

Point is, it's an ugly way of setting up multi-party conference calls, and it depends on multiple intermediaries (two less than the total number of participants) using their own three-way-calling services - so, for example, if you wanted to join ten users, then eight of them have to use their own three-way-calling service to join up the chain. If any of those intermediaries drop out, it breaks the chain on each side, and there's no overall co-ordinator. Really, Zoom and WebEx make more sense.

 

However, it's still possible to daisy-chain TalkTalk's three-way-calling service in this way. So can I just clarify that this isn't what you meant by having three numbers? Thanks.

 

Conversation Starter

More musings; a three-way-calling service can only be daisy-chained in this way if it allows you join an outgoing call with an incoming call. Usually you'd expect to receive the incoming call first before creating a separate outgoing call to join, as opposed to having the outgoing call first and receiving the incoming afterwards through call-waiting. However, if the three-way-calling service doesn't allow you to join an outgoing call with an incoming call, and only allows you to join two outgoing calls, then it cannot be daisy-chained.

 

I have previously verified that daisy-chaining TalkTalk's three-way-calling service works, but it was several years ago, I haven't recently checked if it still works.