Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 news and opinions

Microsoft Teams Essentials, a new standalone Teams SKU for SMB


Interesting news today, Microsoft launched a new Teams only SKU, Microsoft Teams Essentials.

While Microsoft has generally moved away from single product SKU’s towards various Office 366 bundle plans, they must feel there is a demand for customers who are not ready for/don’t want full Office 365 but are specifically shopping for a chat and meetings solution. Possibly overwhelmed by moving up to Microsoft 365 Business Basic? Or maybe they are happily using Gmail or consumer email but need a meeting platform. They could also be using classic on-premises Office or Exchange from a third-party hosting provider.

Microsoft is also making direct comparisons to Zoom Pro, the SKU that unlocks their meeting limits and costs $14.99 vs $4 for Microsoft Teams Essentials

Microsoft Teams Essentials will be available directly from Microsoft web-direct) and select Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSP).

Microsoft Teams (free) offers:

  • Group meetings for up to 60 minutes, limited to 100 participants
  • Direct user to user calls, limited to 60 minutes per call
  • Up to 100 participants per meeting
  • 5 GB of cloud storage per user
  • chat
  • File sharing, tasks, and polling
  • Support is self-help online and forum

Microsoft Teams Essentials includes everything in Free and adds:

  • group meetings for up to 30 hours
  • Up to 300 participants per meeting
  • Up to 30-hour time limit on any single user to user call (so effectively no limit)
  • 10 GB of cloud storage per user
  • Anytime phone and web support

Note, Free, Essentials, and Teams personal all drop the SharePoint backed Channels feature in favor of just basic Chat.

People using Microsoft Teams for personal use can get access to these same Essentials features and extended meeting limits with a Microsoft 365 Family and Microsoft 365 Personal subscription.

Stepping up to Microsoft 365 Business basic, for only $1 more per user, adds a whole bunch of functionality

  • Team meetings recordings with transcripts
  • Web and mobile versions of Office apps 2
  • Expanded cloud storage of 1 TB per user
  • Business-class email

As I understand it, Business Essentials should also be getting PSTN conferencing included, but I’m trying to get that clarified.

Does Teams Essentials have channels?

No, like Teams consumer, there is no “teams”, i.e. groups with multiple channels in Teams Essentials

Can you add Teams Phone to Microsoft Teams Essentials?

Yes, you can at Teams Phone to Microsoft Teams Essentials as an add-on license. You can use Microsoft Calling Plans, Direct Routing, or Operator Connect.


Microsoft blog: New Microsoft Teams Essentials is built for small businesses

About the author

Tom Arbuthnot

A Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master, Tom Arbuthnot is Founder and Principal at Empowering.Cloud as well as a Solutions Director at Pure IP.

Tom stays up to date with industry developments and shares news and his opinions on his, UC Today 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 news and opinions