Microsoft’s two voice services, the basic Teams Phone SMB and Teams Calling Essentials (the enterprise-level option), were merged into a single product at the start of 2022.
The change is meant to simplify the decision-making process for companies in need of a voice communication system. Now, instead of having to choose between different packages, businesses that already use Microsoft 365 or Office 365 can get the Teams Phone with Calling Plan to access all the communication features, whether they are operating at the business or enterprise levels.
Here is everything you need to know about the change to the new Microsoft phone system product.
How will the change affect existing customers?
Existing customers who have a Microsoft 365 Business Voice license don’t have to scramble to make changes. Instead, they can opt to renew Business Voice licenses until June 30, 2022, or make the switch to the Teams Phone with Calling Plan when their current license expires.
Moving forward from July 1, Business Voice customers will be able to adopt the new Teams Phone system when their Business Voice license lapses.
What do you get with the Teams Phone with Calling Plan?
Teams Phone with Calling Plan bundles will include a phone system and a calling plan for your domestic market. The minute thresholds vary depending on your location. In the US, UK, and Canada, license-holders get 3,000 minutes of in-country calling. Teams Phone will also be available in 30 new markets, and customers in these countries will get 1,200 voice minutes with the standard plan.
However, you are not limited to these time allotments. Additional minute bundles are available for purchase with prepaid Communications Credits.
Teams Phone with Calling Plan bundles bring another improvement as well. Previously, teleconferencing was available as an add-on product, but it is now standard for all customers. You should note that existing customers without this add-on can access the audio-conference feature for free until they upgrade their license to the new Teams Phone with Calling Plan.
What phone options are available after this change?
After the changeover is complete, Microsoft 365 and Office 365 customers can choose from Teams Phone and Teams Phone with Calling Plan.
Teams Phone is a basic setup that provides you with a dialling pad. Instead of getting minutes directly from the Calling Plan, you use a third-party, such as a direct routing partner or operator connect service. You get your minute bundles from these providers.
However, if you need a domestic calling plan, you can seamlessly add the 3,000 minutes offered to Canadian customers using Teams Phone with Calling Plan bundles.
What are the advantages of Teams Phone with Calling Plan?
Microsoft’s Teams Phone system is a low-cost communication option that works seamlessly with other Microsoft products. The new Teams Phone brings all customers a complete communication tool. You will get voice calling, chat, and conferencing as built-in features. Because of this all-inclusive arrangement, there is no need to upgrade or purchase individual add-ons.
Teams Phone brings extra flexibility in how you and your employees communicate. The system is cloud-based, so it works on smartphones, traditional desk phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and conferencing systems. As a result, your company can stay connected no matter where employees are (even if they are out of the office).
Since all these features are in one app, the system is easy to use and deploy. You won’t have to worry about complicated configurations or other roadblocks if you switch to Teams Phone with Calling Plan from Business Voice.
What are some of the main features that the Teams Phone with Calling Plan offers?
Notably, if you are coming to Microsoft Teams Phone from another service, you can port your number, so you don’t need to change it.
Teams Phone and Microsoft Teams also offer contact, reception desk, and call queue solutions.
These built-in systems will meet most customers’ needs. For example, the call queue system allows callers to connect via a central number and then be transferred to a specific service, such as a help desk.
If you have advanced requirements that go beyond the built-in systems offered via Teams Phone, you can work with a Microsoft partner to find and connect third-party services.
What details do I need to know for Teams Phone with Calling Plan?
You can buy Teams Phone products from Microsoft or a Microsoft partner. Unfortunately, Teams Phone including Calling Plan isn’t available as a stand-alone product. Instead, you need a base subscription to purchase it. The minimum requirement is an active Microsoft 365 or Office 365 with Microsoft Teams.
According to Microsoft, qualifying subscription plans include both Microsoft 365 and Office 365. For MS 365, subscribers with Business Basic, Standard, and Premium subscriptions qualify, as do E3 and A3 license-holders. Office customers need A1, A3, E1, E3, or F3 subscriptions.
Customers with one of these subscriptions can try Teams Phone free for 30 days to see if its features match their needs.
Teams Phone without a calling plan is available as a stand-alone product. It offers the same communications features and flexibility as the Calling Plan option, but it requires you to work with a partner like Softlanding that offers direct routing services.
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