Microsoft Teams have become for many organizations the best option to integrate collaboration and communications systems in a single environment. By migrating to Microsoft telephony, business can simplify their infrastructure and improve efficiency, user experience, and customer engagement. As a result, with the integration of this Microsoft VoIP technology, businesses ensure continuity while building a more digitally enabled workforce.
Options to leverage Microsoft Teams Phone System
If you have already rolled out Teams as your hub for collaboration, you can convert it into a business phone by adding voice PBX capabilities. There are two options to do this: Microsoft Calling Plans or Direct Routing. We know what you are thinking, how do you determine which option is right for you and your business? Let’s take a closer look at the main benefits and disadvantages of each service.
Microsoft Calling Plans
MS Calling Plans are offered by Microsoft and allow businesses to include phone numbers and a bundle of minutes to their Microsoft 365 plans. This native solution is acquired on a per-user license and maintained directly by Microsoft without an additional PSTN carriers. There are a number of restrictions associated with the use of Calling Plans, including geographic coverage and limited PBX functionalities and feature capabilities
There are 2 Calling Plans options available in 196 countries:
- Domestic Calling Plan: Licensed users can call out to numbers located in the country/region where they are assigned in Microsoft 365 or Office 365.
- Domestic and International Calling Plan: Licensed users can call out to numbers located in the country/region where their Microsoft 365 or Office 365 license is assigned to the user based on the user’s location, and to international numbers in 196 countries/regions.
For small businesses this is the easiest way to get started with cloud-based telephony without searching for a third-party provider.
If a company’s workforce is in countries where Calling Plans are available, this is a great solution to consider.
As Calling Plans are a straightforward solution to deploy, companies will face some limitations and disadvantages as well. For example, you will not be able to customize or extend Teams voice capabilities and the monthly license cost of Calling Plans is high compared with the flexibility offered by Direct Routing.
Moreover, this is a self-service set-up solution managed by Microsoft, which means your business will get limited support available.
Microsoft Teams Direct Routing
Direct Routing lets organizations connect a supported, customer-provided Session Border Controller (SBC) to Microsoft Phone System. This option allows users to connect their Microsoft Teams to a PSTN and receive external and internal calls without leaving their Teams environment.
This solution rather than coming from Microsoft, Direct Routing is offered by a VoIP provider, like BlueSky UC.
Direct Routing rather than coming from Microsoft, is offered by a third-party telephony carrier. Direct Routing services have been designed to offer a better alternative to MS Calling Plans through flexible pricing and tailored solutions, allowing businesses to take advantage of cheaper call rates through volume pricing, greater flexibility, and better support compared to working directly with Microsoft.
Through Direct Routing technology you can get enterprise-class support to ensure higher availability and business uptime. Therefore, you can leverage tailored solutions and enhance your organization growth through CDR, Call Analytics, and Failover capabilities.
Some of the main benefits of Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams are:
- Advanced failover capabilities
- Flexible pricing model based on volume
- No commitment necessary
- Critical support featuring 30-minute response SLAs
- Admin and end-user technical support available
Usually, Direct Routing Solutions are more complex to leverage than Microsoft Calling Plans, but this depends on the requirements of each business. Therefore, we recommend that you compare potential providers’ capabilities and reliability. Some providers have a better optimized carrier back-end than others.
To learn about plans, pricing, and solutions click here.
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