Microsoft Teams can be a real phone for users with a real phone number. To get this functionality you need 2 things
- The “Phone System” licence, which is available as an add-on licence or bundled in Office 365 E5 – This is the ability for the client to act as a phone
- A Phone number and PSTN connectivity (line and minutes). PSTN is the Public Switched Telephony Network or the telephony network
There are two ways to get a phone number and PSTN connectivity in Microsoft Teams
- A Microsoft provided Calling plan that includes your user phone number and a bundle of minutes
- Direct Routing – bringing your own Session Border Controller and Carrier connection, or having a third party carrier provide both as a service
This blog explains the Microsoft Calling Plan option
Microsoft 365 Business Voice
Specifically for small and medium businesses (fewer than 300 users and on Office 365 Business SKU or a host of other SKU’s), there is a Microsoft 365 Business Voice offer that bundles Phone System, Microsoft PSTN Conferencing and Calling plan or partners can bundle Direct Routing and a simplified setup. This is available in the UK and Canada today and the US from 1st April 2020. Other markets to follow but no ETA – stay tuned on the blog for more markets as they are announced.
What are Microsoft Calling Plans?
Microsoft offers calling plans as a per-user licence. They bundle up a number of minutes and a phone number for users. All service is provided directly from Microsoft via Office 365 with no additional PSTN carrier contract.
What Countries are Microsoft Calling Plans available for?
Microsoft offers calling plans for users in 10 countries. Note your Office 365 tenant does not need to be homed in these countries, but the user must have their user country set appropriately.
- Puerto Rico
- United Kingdom (U.K.)
- United States (U.S.)
Microsoft has not added a country since Canada in May 2018 and it doesn’t appear there are more countries coming. All countries globally are covered by Direct Routing
Microsoft also has direct partnerships with Telstra for Australia and Softbank for Japan. For Softbank your tenant must be in Japan. That used to be the case for Telstra too, but now you can actually utilize Telstra Calling Plans for your Australian users even if your tenant is homed elsewhere.
How much do Microsoft Calling Plans cost and how many minutes are included?
Microsoft offers Domestic and Domestic and International Calling Plans.
- MCOPSTN1 – Domestic Calling Plan (3000 domestic minutes US/1200 domestic minute EU plans) – $12 per user per month
- MCOPSTN2 – Domestic & International Calling Plan (3000 domestic minute US/Canada/PR, 1200 domestic minute Europe and 600 international minutes) – $24 per user per month
- MCOPSTN5 – Domestic Calling Plan (120-minute domestic calling plan) – only available to specific organisations, no public pricing
- MCOPSTN6 – Domestic Calling Plan (240-minute domestic calling plan) – only available to specific organisations, no public pricing
How do the minute caps work?
The minute caps are not actually per user but are bundled per plan, per country for each organisation. So if you have 3 users with MCOPSTN2 Domestic and International in France, those 3 users have a combined 3,600 domestic minutes and 1,800 international minutes. If another user in France has MCOPSTN1, Domestic plan, they have 1200 domestic minutes, but even if there are domestic minutes still available in the MCOPSTN2-France plan, once they have used all 1200 they go on to pay per minute.
If you have a domestic and international plan, the plan is “used” when either the domestic or international minute total is reached, whichever is first.
How can I see where I am with my minute caps?
Teams Admin Center (TAC admin.teams.microsoft.com) has a preview minutes pool report
Can I pay per minute?
There is no per-minute only plan, however, you can pick a domestic plan and pay per minute for international calls. You can also pay per minute if you go beyond your allocation of minutes
What happens when I run out of minutes?
Once you run out of minutes in your plan, if you have communications credits enabled, you can pay per minute for any overages.
Communications Credits is Microsoft’s name for a pre-paid amount of money that can be run down per minute. This bucket of credit can be used in various ways, in the context of calling plans it is used to pay per minute for usage beyond the plan or for international calls on a domestic plan,
What are the per-minute costs for Communications Credits?
Microsoft lists the per-minute costs here: https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/voice-calling#Pricing
Where can I get an itemised bill?
There is an itemised bill available on the Teams Admin Center. It can be exported as a CSV.