When it comes to internal & external business communications, many organizations have switched over to tools like Microsoft Teams to help streamline collaboration and increase productivity. However, while the basic functionality of Microsoft Teams allows users to collaborate via instant message, video chat & more, it does not include, as standard, a key communication function, traditional phone calling. 

Ultimately, this leads to stress on the end user because they are trying to leverage an outdated traditional phone system that does not fit within their hybrid working environment. On top of that many of these traditional phone systems leverage local carriers, meaning your organization has multiple vendors all providing similar services, and that may be detrimental to your bottom line. That’s why we recommend leveraging a 100% cloud-based phone system that integrates with Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams Voice.

Microsoft Teams Voice is an add-on to the Microsoft Teams platform that enables users to make and receive Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) calls outside of your organization. The service includes several features such as call forwarding, voicemail, and caller ID blocking. As you’d imagine, there’s a lot to consider when moving to Microsoft Teams Voice that’s why we put together this blog post: Microsoft Teams Voice Calling: All You Need To Know.

In this blog, though, we’ll look into the actual Microsoft Teams Voice plans, so you can better understand what you’ll need to budget for if you’re thinking about implementing this functionality, consolidating your enterprise’s needs, or just curious about the different available plans. The good news is that leveraging a managed services provider like Yorktel will help you navigate the complexity of these plans, consult on which works best for your organization & consolidate billing into a single place.

What is Included in a Microsoft Teams Voice Calling Plan?

It’s important to understand that to add voice functionality to your Teams solution there is a tremendous amount to consider but here are two key components: Microsoft’s Phone System and a suitable PSTN connectivity option

Your calling plan, is charged per user per month, on an annual basis and includes the following:

  • Cloud-based telephony with advanced features, including call transfer, multilevel auto attendants, and call queues.
  • Teams connection to your choice of PSTN: Microsoft Calling Plans, Direct Routing, Operator Connect.
  • 99.99% uptime SLA
  • Around-the-clock customer support seven days a week

With Microsoft’s Phone System, your business users can make and receive internal calls without the need to utilize the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), thereby eliminating potential long-distance costs on what are otherwise internal calls.

To make external calls, in addition, your organization needs a PSTN connectivity add-on such as:

  • Calling Plans: A solution where Microsoft acts as the PSTN carrier. You can choose from domestic, domestic, and international, or pay-as-you-go Calling Plans
  • Operator Connect: If you have your own PSTN carrier, Operator Connect allows them to manage the service for bringing PSTN calling to your Teams setup. How much you pay for Operator Connect will depend on several factors: number of users, user location, features, and support requirements.
  • Direct Routing: This enables you to connect your Session Border Controller(s) (SBCs) to Phone System, effectively enabling your on-premise telephony environment to handle your PSTN connectivity.

Teams Voice For the Modern Workplace and Worker

Discover how Teams Voice removes inefficiencies and unifies voice in the context of an organization’s entire digital ecosystem; the different paths for migrating to Teams Voice; and key factors in choosing a partner to implement this vital part of a digital workplace transformation strategy.

Download Whitepaper

Different Types Of Microsoft Teams Voice Plans

As mentioned above, Microsoft Teams Voice features calling plans in three distinct options. However, this is one of the easiest ways we see organizations overpaying for their Teams Voice setup:

  • Domestic: For when your business users only need to make calls within the U.S..
  • Domestic and International: For when your business users need to make calls worldwide.
  • Pay-as-you-go: With Microsoft’s pay-as-you-go Calling Plan option, no outgoing minutes are included and all calls are charged on a per call basis. In addition, to call costs, organizations pay a set fee for Zone 1 (USA, Canada, and the UK) and per user per month for Zone 2 (full list of countries here). With this plan, business users can make both domestic and international calls.

How To Tell Which Microsoft Teams Voice Plan Is Right For Your Enterprise

The tough answer to this question is that it depends. Determining the right Microsoft Teams Voice solution is highly dependent on your business users’ needs, the telephony infrastructure & existing relationships you already have. This ultimately means that each organization may have a slightly different need in terms of calling plans based on 1 or 2 key pieces of information. That’s why at Yorktel we always work directly with our clients to develop the best, most cost-effective solution.

However, at the highest level, for companies with no existing carrier relationships & telephony infrastructure, Phone System with a relevant Calling Plan will probably be the best option. That’s because this setup does not require significant investment and everything is handled in the cloud by Microsoft. 

As mentioned before, for companies that already have existing carrier relationships and/or on-premise telephony architecture, Operator Connect or Direct Routing are both viable options but there are too many open questions to answer what would be best.

That’s why we’d recommend you’d start by reaching out to a professional Microsoft Teams Consultant. Our experienced Microsoft Teams Voice consultants understand all of the solution’s idiosyncrasies and can help you decide which plan is right for your organization. Contact us now to talk with one of our experts and take the first step on your Microsoft Teams Voice journey.

In the meantime, please consider downloading and reading our Microsoft Teams Calling for the Modern Workplace and Modern Worker whitepaper for more information.