Among the many factors contributing to Microsoft Teams‘ rise as the go-to collaboration solution for businesses is how simple it makes online meetings. With one click, everyone in an organization with Microsoft Teams is instantly connected from any smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop using the Teams app—or even a web browser. But the internet-connectivity that makes a Microsoft Teams meeting so magical can also be seen as a downside. Many existing Amaxra clients who adopted Microsoft Teams for remote working asked the same very good question: “How can our attendees who for whatever reason don’t have the Teams app, can’t be in front of an internet-connected device, or just don’t have access to a reliable broadband internet connection participate in the Teams meeting?“ The answer is calling into a meeting using a legacy telephone and the Audio Conferencing feature for Microsoft Teams.
What is Audio Conferencing for Microsoft Teams?
Audio Conferencing is a monthly subscription add-on for Microsoft Teams enabling meeting attendees to use a global dial-in phone number to join a Teams meeting. This option is most often used by attendees who are often on the road, such as employees in sales or on-site service technicians who travel to remote sites where internet connectivity is spotty. Because the Audio Conferencing feature uses public switched telephone network (PSTN) phone numbers for audio, attendees can call into a Teams meeting from mobile phones without internet connectivity and even legacy landline phones using a local or toll-free phone number.
As you have probably figured out, Audio Conferencing is an add-on service with certain licensing requirements and costs. Organizations adding this service will need to buy one Audio Conferencing license for each person in your organization who is going to schedule and host audio meetings.
There are two licensing options for adding Audio Conferencing to Microsoft Teams:
- Standard – Organizations with the Standard license pay a flat $4 per user per month in the United States (higher in other locales and only available in certain countries) for audio conferencing on the PSTN.
- Per Minute – Organizations with the Per Minutes license pay nothing upfront or per month but are charged for each minute of PSTN audio conferencing.
Amaxra recommends Standard licensing for the vast majority of our SMB customers in the United States because the flat fee rate is typically more cost-effective. However, some larger clients with an international business have to blend Standard and Per Minute licensing.
How many people can get on an Audio Conferencing for Microsoft Teams call?
The maximum limit for call-in attendees is 1,000 for most Microsoft 365 For Business users, but organizations with Microsoft 365 E3 and higher can have up to 20,000 “listen-only” attendees in a meeting until the limit is revised after June 30, 2021. None of the attendees who dial into an Audio Conferencing for Microsoft Teams meeting using a regular phone line are not required to have the Teams app or pay for a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 license—and the Audio Conferencing hosts are not required to pay a per-attendee license. Based on where an organization chooses to set up the Audio Conferencing feature for Microsoft Teams, local phone numbers are automatically assigned as shared audio conferencing numbers. Microsoft currently provides local Audio Conferencing numbers for over 250 cities in over 60 countries around the world, and that covers a large portion of where most international business is conducted. If a call-in attendee doesn’t have a local phone number for the Audio Conferencing feature, then they potentially could be charged by the minute. Amaxra encourages SMBs with national or multi-region attendees to consider providing toll-free phone numbers, which is a per minute charge for the SMB but a nice thing to do.
The best reason to get Audio Conferencing for Microsoft Teams
If you’re a small or medium-sized business with up to 300 users and you currently don’t have any Audio Conferencing licenses, you can get Audio Conferencing free for one year. This free offer is available until June 30, 2021 if you purchase through a Microsoft Gold-level Partner such as Amaxra. We can apply the free Audio Conferencing add-on license to organizations who have Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, Enterprise E1, or Enterprise E3 licenses.
For more than a decade, Amaxra has been at the forefront of deploying cloud-based Microsoft solutions to businesses of all sizes. Our founders—and many of our consultants—are former Microsoft employees. We can get Audio Conferencing up and running for all of your employees quickly and simply without any business disruption so everyone at your company can stay connected during meetings no matter where they are.
Feedback and comments are always welcome. If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also connect with me via LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/adampearson44.
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