Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 news and opinions

Understanding Microsoft Teams Calling Plans

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

Microsoft 365 Business Voice is an add on SKU to SMB (up to 300 users) Office 365 Plans that include all of the following in one licence:

  • Microsoft Teams cloud-based phone system with advanced features including call transfer, multi-level auto attendants, and call queues.
  • Microsoft PSTN Dial-in audio conferencing for up to 250 people per meeting.
  • 24×7 customer support, backed by Microsoft
  • User phone numbers and calling plans (2 options, direct from Microsoft or via a partner)

More details of Microsoft 365 Business Voice here.

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 16 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.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom (U.K.)
  • United States (U.S.)

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?

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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

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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

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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.

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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 Tomtalks.blog, UC Today Microsoft Teams Podcast and email list. He is a regular speaker at events around the world.

  • Are you able to articulate on getting a call-in number,conference bridge, specifically for Teams Meetings? Licensing seems to be confusing for this.

  • This article is very clear it you want to add a phone number for calling. However, we are using Teams meeting with most users adding the phone exchange option for $4/month. This makes the four primary numbers plus our Corporate Skype number available to invitees of the meeting. However, the Skype number is not Toll-free. Research on the Microsoft site does not clearly define a process or costs related to setting up a Toll-free number for Teams meetings. You may want to consider an article on establishing Toll-free numbers for Teams meetings.

  • How about users who only need to receive incoming calls, and not make any outgoing calls? Is it required to buy the smallest CallingPlan (120 minutes domestic) for all of them?
    Let´s say I have 100 users and numbers, and only 10 needs to be able to dial out. I will buy 10 CallingPlans.
    But how about the other 90 users who should only receive calls?

    • If you want PSTN from Microsoft for users, they need a calling plan, even to just receive PSTN calls.

      A direct routing carrier might give other options that might be a better fit commercially.

      • What about incoming PSTN calls for call queues, do we have to assign calling plan license to users who are part of call queue and auto attendant?

  • My call flow includes Directory Search Auto Attendant providing access and ability to talk to all users in my tenant. To receive PSTN calls, the Auto Attendant has a Virtual Phone System License and Domestic Calling Plan license. All of my users have Teams license and Audio Conferencing license. Do users need any other licenses to be able to receive inbound calls coming from parties external to my tenant?

  • Interesting. What about South Asia and the middle east? India and Dubai for example? Are there any partnerships available who offer direct routing sbc as a service?

    Regards,
    Ernie

  • Hi there,

    Thanks for the article. One question:

    If I have 10 Users with an national calling plan, and 1 auto attendant with an international calling plan, can the 10 users somehow use the international minutes from the international plan?

    Currently it says for the users: “This function is not available. Contact your admin.” when they try to ring to another country…

    Best regards

  • Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 news and opinions
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