Is Teams Calling VoIP?

Nathan Hill-Haimes


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    Microsoft Office 365 has many valuable elements, with one of the most widely utilised by businesses being the Microsoft Teams application. Microsoft Teams provides the functionality for employees to collaborate on projects, share files, arrange chats and attend meetings. One of the questions many organisations have, though, is how Teams can function as a phone system.


    Is Teams Calling VoIP?

    The short answer is yes. Teams enable users to make Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls. Users can use this functionality to make VoIP calls to any other Teams users, or they can send an external link to anyone, regardless of whether they have Teams or not. This functionality makes collaboration and communication quick and easy, as the calls can be scheduled in advance or made as an impromptu voice call. In addition to this, there are two other options available that allow the Teams users to receive and make calls to any mobiles or landline phones. Calls can be completed using the public switched telephone network (PSTN). An organisation can either add a phone system calling plan to their Teams subscription or utilise the 'Direct Connect' functionality, which allows a company to connect their existing PSTN to their Microsoft Teams accounts. The first option will provide a new phone number that you users will be able to access. The call functionality available within Teams should feel comfortably familiar to most users. There are all of the basic phone system features you would anticipate, such as voicemail and seeing call history. Users can initiate a call based on the name of the person they want to contact or by dialling in a number directly into the level integrated dialling pad that features within the Teams application.

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    Is Teams Calling A VoIP phone system?

    Yes - Teams Calling is effectively a VoIP phone system. As outlined above, Teams has been specifically engineered to provide VoIP calling between Teams users. Even if you choose not to go down the route of enabling PSTN calling, the VoIP functionality will still exist within Teams and can be used to connect with your colleagues, clients and partners. Calls from within your organisation can display detailed caller ID drawn directly from your company's corporate directory. The corporate directory can include features like an avatar and job title. The process to enable VoIP calling is relatively straightforward. Their centralised IT team will likely need to configure the phone systems and calling plans within Office 365. VoIP calls can be received in Teams, although if your organisation is still using Skype for Business, it is also possible to receive calls through this application. However, VoIP can't be set up as a system to receive calls through both of these applications, so it will need to be decided which application will be the primary platform through which calls are received. Slightly conversely, users can still make outgoing calls from either Teams or Skype for Business, irrespective of which application you have configured to receive calls. This means that Teams can be used as an effective VoIP phone system very easily.

    Can Teams replace VoIP?

    Yes, the VoIP offering from Microsoft Teams has the potential to replace all other voice over internet protocol systems that you are already using. Once the user has set up or joined a Teams channel, it is straightforward to make VoIP calls. They can then search for the person they want to call by searching for their name in the chat functionality. It's not just voice calls either - just like Microsoft Skype and other competitors like Zoom, Microsoft Teams provides the ability to start a video chat. Because it's possible to have all of your incoming calls routed in through Teams, it is entirely possible to replace your entire phone system by using Teams as a VoIP based telephone system. There are many other features of Teams that make it a viable alternative to competitor services. Features such as collaborating, linking to documents, and having several people edit them whilst you are all on a video call together.

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    Can Microsoft Teams call landline?

    It is possible to dial external numbers using the Teams application. Your company will need to decide which option it feels is the best fit - either direct routing an existing PSTN or purchasing a call plan which will provide a phone number and allow external calls. Factors like budget and existing contractual commitments to PSTN providers are ultimately likely to factor into the decision made on this front. Factors like the extent that your workforce needs to work entirely remotely will also likely dictate how much you choose to utilise the features available within Teams to dial external numbers. The meetings function also provides a dial-in option for landline users. When any Teams user decides to set up a meeting, Teams will provide them with a series of choices that feed into an auto-populated email invitation. The Teams environment will offer an audio-only option that will allow invitees who are not Teams subscribers or working from a location without internet access to dial in via a landline. In conclusion, Microsoft Teams can be an effective alternative to a traditional phone system. It can provide VoIP calling between users or an invitation to external participants without requiring them to download Team software. Further to this, call plan options are available and can route an existing PSTN directly through Teams. The use of Teams means that users can use the application to make external calls to landlines and mobiles, effectively removing the need for any other kind of phone provision.

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