Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Collaboration news and opinions

Common Area Phone support now available on Skype for Business Online Cloud Phone System

Update 6th March 2018: This is now generally available, blog post updated. Pricing details below.

In Skype for Business Server (and Lync Server) we have a Common Area Phone option. Phones are often located in building lobbies, cafeterias, employee lounges, meeting rooms. Unlike other phones in Skype for Business Server, common area phones do not have individual active directory user accounts assigned to them. They are actually connected to contact objects.

In Skype for Business Server, these phones don’t require an active directory user licence or a Skype for Business user licence, which saves some cost. In addition, Common Area Phones had some unique features, such as hot desking, where a phone uses a common area profile/number by default but users can “sign into” that phone and make it their own extension.

In Skype for Business Online, there has been no equivalent, meaning if you had phones in common areas, you had to buy and assign them a regular user account.

Recently AudioCodes mentioned “Common Area Phone (CAP) online support” in their 400HD Series IP Phones for Microsoft Skype for Business Version 3.0.4 release notes. From their notes:

Common Area Phone (CAP) online support. Phones can now be defined as CAPs when using a cloud PBX. Defined per physical phone rather than per user, a CAP requires a special sign-in method called ‘CAP provisioning’, exclusive to cloud PBX. Before signing in, users must enable the phone as a CAP and then sign in using this special ‘CAP provisioning’ method. CAPs in server mode are unchanged. The change applies only to cloud PBX.


A URL and Pairing Code are displayed:


The administrator points the browser to the URL, and signs into Office 365 and locates the phone:

image image

The administrator enters the Pairing Code in the Microsoft web page and clicks Provision:


to Microsoft’s Cloud PBX is performed:


Update: Here is the AudioCodes screenshots from a colour phone, thanks, Daryl Hunter











Update: Polycom updated me with details of their Phone UI that supports this too in UCS 5.7

The Feature is now generally available, it lists at $8 per phone per month, which effectively is the “Cloud Phone System” Licence to run an IP Phone. In addition, to make calls, you will need a Microsoft PSTN Calling Plan or “bring your own trunk


Microsoft Teams has IP Phone support on the roadmap. There are no specific details for Common Area Phones yet.

About the author

Tom Arbuthnot

A Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master, Tom Arbuthnot is Principal Solutions Architect at Microsoft Collaboration specialists Modality Systems.

Tom stays up to date with industry developments and shares news and his opinions on his blog, Microsoft Teams Podcast and email list. He is a regular speaker at events around the world.


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Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Collaboration news and opinions