What is Microsoft Teams Voice Calling?

Microsoft Teams Voice is taking the voice communications market by storm as organizations work to become fully Modern Workplaces. If you’re not familiar, Microsoft Teams Voice allows users to make and receive PSTN calls from mobile and desktop devices through Microsoft Teams.

While you can choose to integrate Microsoft Teams Voice within your on-premise infrastructure, some of the Microsoft Teams Voice features are that you can completely replace your legacy PBX phone system with a cloud-based system, that requires less maintenance from you and keeps everything within the Microsoft 365 universe. The fact that it sits within an existing UC&C workflow and so companies can maximize resources and support remote work is a huge benefit.


What Microsoft Teams Voice Allows You to Do

In practice, Microsoft Teams Voice empowers teams to work from home (WFH), in the office or from anywhere with an internet connection, more productively and with greater privacy and security. WFH employees don’t have to transfer their phone lines, share their personal number or use their own carrier plans, but they can remain on their own devices. In the office, Microsoft Teams Voice is compatible with Microsoft-compatible desktop phone systems and hardware, as well as mobile phones and computers.

With Microsoft Teams Voice, users can

  • make and receive calls
  • access their call history, voice messages, and phone features from their desk phone, in a Teams Meeting Room or while they’re mobile
  • transfer calls to other users from the main call-in line
  • customize their voicemail settings
  • route calls to Teams and set up round robin, queues and shared lines
  • set holiday hours, auto-attendants, out-of-office messages and customized hold music

Unlike direct mobile networks, workers can control when and how they get calls in an individualized way, and they’re able to use their mobile phones without giving away their private phone number, and everything is monitored in Teams.

Teams Voice empowers workers to move seamlessly across voice, video, messaging, collaboration and file sharing without ever leaving Teams. Additionally, your organization can manage onboarding and admin functions in Teams, access reporting and diagnostics in Microsoft 365, and subscribe to long-term monitoring and management of Teams Voice within the entire Teams ecosystem.


The Different Microsoft Teams Voice Configurations Explained

There are two kinds of Microsoft Teams Voice configurations: Microsoft Calling Plans, which allow you to easily replace your system and carrier contract with Teams Voice, and Direct Routing with a third party, which allows you to replace or update your current infrastructure with a more robust Microsoft Teams Voice integration.


What is a Microsoft Calling Plan?

Microsoft Calling Plans typically require you to have a Microsoft 365 license for the phone system, domestic calling plan, and audio conferencing; and, if desired, an international license that provides access to the Microsoft network in 16 countries. Microsoft Calling Plans are a per-user license, regardless of concurrent usage, so you pay the same amount for each person on your team, no matter how much time they spend on the phone.


When to use a Microsoft Calling Plan

Microsoft Calling Plans are excellent for small to mid-sized businesses, because they’re easy to sign up for and manage and don’t require any on-premise infrastructure or a PSTN carrier contract. Therefore they don’t involve any CAPEX investment or additional monitoring and management. However, the plans do not offer as many features as Direct Routing, such as phone trees and shared lines.


What is Direct Routing

Direct Routing for Teams Voice implements a session border controller (SBC), such as Yorktel’s Teams Voice Connector, to connect PSTN calls through Teams. While you can host this yourself, this route requires more extensive investment and management, and there are Microsoft Teams Direct Routing partners that offer a Hosted SBC as a service, so that you don’t have to shoulder the burden of managing and maintaining your own SBC and can avoid the CAPEX expenditure.

With Direct Routing, you can conduct a full replacement of your architecture or if you’d like to preserve existing investments, you can use your own SBC, SIP trunk or existing carrier. A Direct Routing service, particularly if you use Yorktel as your provider, is not tied to a per-user plan; instead, it works on a concurrent session model so you can be efficient about usage costs.


When to use Microsoft Direct Routing

Direct Routing offers more advanced enterprise phone system features and can be more easily integrated with your existing architecture, and it provides interoperability with third-party systems such as call centers, paging systems and Analog Telephony Adapters (ATA) to further preserve existing investments. It’s a good decision for organizations that have significant on-premise infrastructure (that either needs to be replaced or integrated) and companies that need extensive monitoring and management of their systems.


Is Microsoft Teams Voice Calling right for you?

Microsoft Teams Voice provides more flexibility, scalability and functionality for Voice communications. It saves time and reduces CAPEX, and users benefit from staying within the Microsoft Teams ecosystem, which removes inefficiencies and unifies voice within your entire digital workflow. If you choose to pursue Direct Routing, you can transition out of your legacy infrastructure while immediately benefiting from a cloud-based system.

No matter which route you decide to take, Microsoft Teams Voice provides a simple, efficient and cost-effective way for you to fulfill a key piece of your digital transformation, so that you have a Modern Workplace that will thrive in the future.


If you’re interested in making the move to Microsoft Teams Voice, learn more about how Yorktel can help your organization with implementation and ongoing management here or download our whitepaper “Microsoft Teams Calling for the Modern Workplace and Modern Worker” to find out more.