Microsoft Teams is a powerful yet straightforward app that facilitates collaboration between remote workers. It's been designed to help your team stay organised and share information in one place. As part of this, Microsoft Teams allows for business voice calls and phone calls in addition to instant messages and video conferencing, collectively known as Microsoft Teams calling plans.
What are Microsoft Teams calling plans?
Microsoft Teams can be used as a telephone line, complete with its landline number. To avail of this functionality, you'll need a calling plan licence which can be purchased as a standalone add-on or bundled in with Office 365. Microsoft offers its users a variety of calling plans on a per-user basis. Different calling plans are available based on the number of minutes a user will need, and the service is directly provided by Microsoft, without any need for additional carrier contracts.
Where are Microsoft Teams calling plans available?At present, Microsoft offers calling plans for users in 16 countries. However, it is possible to use your calling plan in a different country than your Office 365 subscription is registered. The countries in which Microsoft currently offers calling plans are Australia, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Switzerland and the United States. All countries worldwide can be reached via a Microsoft Teams calling plan with direct routing, allowing you to make and receive calls to and from anywhere in the world.
How do I add a calling plan to my team?If you're looking to add a calling plan to Microsoft Teams, you will first purchase a Phone System subscription. Phone System essentially provides all the management and control capabilities for your Microsoft Teams calling plan. If it helps, try to think of Phone System as Microsoft's equivalent of a Private Branch Exchange or PBX. Phone System allows you to: - Create call queues - Arrange call forwarding - Set up caller ID - Transfer voicemails - Route or block incoming calls You may already have Phone System bundled as part of your Office 365 subscription (for example, if you have the all-in Enterprise E5 subscription.) For other Enterprise packages, you will be expected to pay on a per-user, per-month basis.
Phone System is set up: what next?It's now time to purchase a calling plan. To do this, you'll need to navigate to Microsoft Teams add-on licensing, where you'll have the option to compare different licenses and plans. Firstly, you'll need to assign the licenses and then assign calling plans to the people in your organisation who require them.
Where do I get a phone number for a Microsoft Teams calling plan?
There are three different ways to set up phone numbers for new users: 1) Use the Microsoft Teams admin centre In most countries and regions, you can configure telephone numbers for your users via the admin centre. This process is relatively quick and easy if you simply want brand new telephone numbers. 2) Import your existing numbers If you wish to keep your existing phone numbers, it's possible to import them over from your current provider to Office 365. For this, you'll need to use the importing wizard within the Microsoft Teams admin centre. Microsoft will become your primary service provider and charge you for these numbers after you do so. 3) Fill out a request form for new numbers In some instances, you may not be able to get new numbers via the Microsoft Teams admin centre (for example, if you need specific area codes or numbers). If this is the case, you will need to download a request form, fill it in and email it back to a Microsoft representative.
How much do the Teams calling plans cost?As mentioned above, Phone System is required before you can make use of a calling plan. For Enterprise users who do not have an all-in Enterprise E5 subscription, the Phone System costs £6.00 per user per month. Users with 365 Business Basic, Standard or Premium will need to purchase Microsoft Phone System as part of the Microsoft 365 Business Voice bundle. There are two types of Business Voice licence available: Business Voice with Calling plan (which allows you to make calls) and Business Voice without Calling plan (which requires you to have a Direct Routing provider to make calls). Business Voice with Calling Plan costs £12 per user per month and includes a Phone System with a domestic calling plan.
International calling plan optionsLicensed users with a calling plan can call numbers located in the country they are assigned to in Office 365. To make calls outside this jurisdiction, these users will need a Domestic and International Calling Plan, priced from £18.10 per user per month. These fees are in addition to the Phone System licence and provide the user with 1200 minutes of domestic calls and 600 minutes of international calls, based on whichever is first reached within a calendar month.
What happens if I exceed my calling plan minutes?If you are worried about using your minutes and being unable to make calls, it may be helpful to enable Communications Credits within Office 365. Communications credits allow you to pay per minute for any excess communications. You can pre-fund your Communications Credits so that they are run down on a minute-by-minute basis, which will enable you to avoid any unexpected bills. It is worth remembering that international call rates by the minute can vary depending on the recipient's geographic location. However, it makes sense to set up Communications Credits for emergency purposes, as the last thing your business needs is to be unable to make calls when you need to the most.
A Microsoft Teams calling plan can be a helpful way to make and receive calls, although it's not the only way to do so. It may be beneficial to discuss your requirements to ascertain whether it is the right solution for you. In some instances, it makes perfect sense. For example, suppose your colleagues are primarily working remotely or you need audio conferencing. In that case, a calling plan with Microsoft Teams is the hassle-free way to facilitate domestic and international calls via a single, unified platform for communications.