If you’re familiar with Microsoft Teams, you probably know it as a hub for communication and collaboration within the workplace. It serves as a convenient place to do group or individual chat, calling, and file sharing. But Teams offers even more than that. It’s also a good platform for education and distance learning, and even more broadly, a way to supplant traditional phone systems. Let’s take a look at telephone plans in Microsoft Teams and whether this might be a good option for your company.
Microsoft 365 Business Voice
Microsoft 365 Business Voice is a cloud-based phone system option built as part of Microsoft Teams. It’s designed for small and medium-sized businesses of up to 300 users, with users’ mailboxes located in Microsoft 365. As of now, Business Voice is available in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. (Microsoft has mentioned plans to extend its availability globally, but we don’t have specific dates yet.) In order to use Microsoft Teams like a traditional phone system, a couple things are necessary:
- You need a phone number and Public Switched Telephony Network (PSTN) connectivity. Business Voice is perhaps the simplest way to obtain these. (You can also go with direct routing if you have your own Session Border Controller and Carrier connection, or a third party carrier service you want to use.)
- You’ll also need a Phone System license, which you can purchase as an add-on or bundled into a Microsoft SKU. These are the minimum plan requirements that can be used with a Phone System add-on license:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium
- Microsoft 365 A1
- Microsoft 365 A3
- Microsoft 365 E1
- Microsoft 365 E3
- Microsoft 365 F1
Other Calling Plan Options
For businesses larger than 300 users or those who prefer to do per-user licensing, Microsoft has calling plans similar to traditional phone carrier plans, with payment based on allotted minutes and location. For this option there is no need for a PSTN carrier contract. Phone services are provided directly through Office 365. Such calling plans are available in the following countries:
- Puerto Rico
- United Kingdom
- United States
Your Office 365 tenant doesn’t actually have to be homed in these countries (with a couple exceptions), but the user needs to have the user country set to one of the participating areas. Both domestic and international calling plans are available. Outbound international calls can be made to these 196 countries.
Pricing for Telephone Plans in Microsoft Teams
Pricing for Business Voice depends on your Microsoft 365 license, starting at $5/month per user.
The chart below shows basic pricing options for calling plans outside of Business Voice, with per-user licensing:
The total cost here ranges from a per-user price of $12-$20/month for domestic plans, or $24-$32/month for international plans. This includes 3000 domestic minutes (or 1200 if in the U.K.), and the international plan includes that and adds 600 international minutes. If additional minutes are needed, you can add time by purchasing communication credits, essentially paying per minute beyond the basic plan. If you choose, you can also purchase a domestic plan and then pay per minute internationally, which would work well for companies that only rarely need the international calling capabilities. For rates on additional minutes, download Microsoft’s full calling plan rates. Another helpful thing to note is that you can purchase different plans for different users, according to need.
Tracking Minutes Within Plans
Call minutes aren’t divided by individual users but rather bundled by plan and country. Therefore, all of the users within the same country under the same plan will contribute to a total number of minutes they share. You can view where you’re at in minute usage through the Teams Admin Center, which has an area that breaks down minute pools and allows you to see usage visually in charts. There you can also view and export an itemized bill. These monitoring abilities can help you fine-tune and determine whether you may want to adjust the plan in the future.
Are Telephone Plans in Microsoft Teams for Your Company?
If you’re already using Microsoft Teams, switching your phone system over to Business Voice or one of these other plans could be a way to simplify and consolidate your platforms. It may turn out to be a more cost-effective option than what you’re currently doing. And if you’re looking to change or revamp your telephone system and haven’t explored Teams yet, these options could introduce you to more tools than you realized you’d have access to. Contact us below with questions or to find out more features of telephone plans in Microsoft Teams.