New Microsoft 'Teams Phone with Calling Plan' Product Coming in January
Microsoft on Fridayoutlined changes for organizations using Microsoft Teams for phone calls.
The company is introducing a new product, called"Teams Phone with Calling Plan." It combines the "Microsoft 365 BusinessVoice" product offering with enterprise capabilities of the "TeamsCalling Essentials" product. Those two products will get subsumed and willdisappear after the new Teams Phone with Calling Plan product gets released.
These product changes are being done to simplifypurchasing and bring "enterprise-grade capabilities to SMBs," theannouncement indicated.
The overall product changes and pricing are shown in thefollowing diagram from a Microsoft FAQ document (Worddoc download):
Microsoft BusinessVoice Ending in MarchMicrosoft Business Voice is a Teams product that sets upMicrosoft as an organization's telephony service provider. It's for Microsoft365 and Office 365 users having "300 or fewer people," per thisMicrosoft Business Voice document description.
Microsoft is planning to phase out its Business Voice producton March 1, 2022, according to the FAQ document. However, existing MicrosoftBusiness Voice users will be able to renew their subscriptions "until June30, 2022" or they can choose the Teams Phone with Calling Plan optioninstead, the FAQ indicated.
While the Teams Calling Essentials product also is goingaway, no dates were described by Microsoft for its end.
New Teams Phonewith Calling Plan Coming Jan. 1Organizations with Microsoft 365 and Office 365subscriptions that include Microsoft Teams will be offered Teams Phone withCalling Plan. It's not available "at this time" as a standaloneproduct, the FAQ indicated.
Users of Teams Phone with Calling Plan get 3,000 minutesfor domestic calls in the United States and Canada, but just 1,200 minutes fordomestic calls in other markets. If organizations want to call outside theirdomestic zones, then Microsoft sells an add-on international calling plan thatoffers 600 minutes per user per month, according to the FAQ. The calls,conducted from Microsoft Teams, work across mobile networks and the publicswitched telephone network.
Teams Phone with Calling Plan will be offered throughMicrosoft's partners in 33 markets starting on Jan. 1, 2022.
Teams Phone with Calling Plan also will be directlyavailable from the "Teams Phone website in the US, UK, and Canada onJanuary 3rd, and in the remainder of markets later in January," theannouncement indicated.
To add Teams Phone with Calling Plan, organizations willneed to have one of the following qualifying subscriptions, per the FAQ: "Microsoft365 Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, F1, F3, E3, A3 andOffice 365 F1, F3, E1, E3, A1, A3."
Teams Phone Optionand Calling Plan OptionAlternatively, organizations can buy a"standalone" product called Teams Phone, which "allows them topurchase dial tone from a third-party provider."
Microsoft also alternatively offers a separate CallingPlan product for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Teams users that lets themconnect to the public switched telephone network (that is, landline phones).
Audio ConferencingRealignment in MarchAudio Conferencing is a Teams feature that lets usersstart conferences with their phones, even if the phones lack the bandwidth fora Teams session. InAugust, Microsoft promised to broaden access to the Audio Conferencingbeyond Microsoft 365 E5 and Office 365 E5 plans. That announcement came in thecontext of price hikes for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscriptions, expectedto occur on March 1, 2022.
In its Friday announcement, Microsoft clarified thatAudio Conferencing "will be available as part of all Teams-inclusiveMicrosoft 365 and Office 365 subscriptions starting on March 1, 2021."
About the Author
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.