Many small to midsized businesses (SMBs) with Microsoft 365 Business plans use the Microsoft Teams app as a way to connect with peers and partners for collaboration. However, some SMBs noted that while it was possible to make voice calls to other employees with the Teams app, true telephony features where voice calls in Teams are made outside of the organization using the public switched telephone network (PSTN) was impossible without a complex and often expensive process. In 2019, Microsoft launched a cloud-based phone system that provides SMBs with less than 300 employees a complete telephony solution built for Microsoft Teams called Microsoft 365 Business Voice. But the need for sustainable hybrid work environments brought on by the 2020 global pandemic gently nudged Microsoft to add more Teams Phone features last year to stay competitive. Amaxra was an early advocate for both the Business Voice plan and new Teams Phone features in our previous blog posts.
We are now learning how in 2022, Microsoft will consolidate the SMB-focused Business Voice calling plan with some Teams Phone features previously only available in the most expensive enterprise-focused offerings into a new SMB telephony solution. Named “Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan,” this new add-on plan for Teams will simplify the purchase decision process and streamline the delivery of enterprise-grade telephony capabilities to SMBs.
Teams Phone with Calling Plan will replace the SMB-focused Business Voice add-on (targeted at Microsoft 365 Business subscribers with 300 or fewer employees) and the enterprise-focused “Teams Essentials” add-on (typically used by organizations with Microsoft 365 “E” plans and legacy Office 365 enterprise plans). This new consolidated plan will have a list price that costs less than the two current plans. Amaxra consultants will offer the Teams Phone Calling Plan add-on to our customers starting on January 1, 2022.
What is Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan?
Teams Phone with Calling Plan is an all-in-one business communication solution to help SMBs with Microsoft 365 that use the Teams app to reduce overall costs and simplify their IT operations. This new add-on for Microsoft 365 Business subscribers integrates PSTN voice calling along with the instant messaging chat, meetings, and collaboration features into the Teams app. Teams Phone with Calling Plan enables all employees with Teams to make phone calls from anywhere they work, on any device they choose—including Windows PCs, Macs, smart phones, desk phones, and conference rooms (making it perfect for hybrid workers).
What makes Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan so useful to SMBs?
The key reason why SMBs will want the Teams Phone with Calling Plan add-on is that it combines the essential business telephony components—a phone system and domestic calling plan—into a single package. As previously mentioned, adding telephony to Teams was a complex and expensive process not that long ago. With the availability of Teams Phone with Calling Plan, IT managers at SMBs can set up all employees in the organization with secure and reliable phone service quickly and easily because it’s delivered from Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure.
Teams Phone with Calling Plan comes with the enterprise-grade business telephony features you’d normally have to pay extra for such as auto attendants, call queues, consultative transfer, and voicemail transcription. Because the plan leverages Microsoft cloud infrastructure, phone calls can be made and received in 33 markets at launch in January 2022. For example, if you’re a Teams Phone with Calling Plan user in the United States, the plan provides you with 3,000 minutes for domestic calls which also includes calls to all mobile and PSTN numbers in Canada. Teams Phone with Calling Plan users in the 32 other markets outside of the US, however, receive only 1,200 minutes for domestic calls. For American-based SMBs requiring calls to partners in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, they can either purchase the international calling plan that offers 600 minutes per user/per month or use a “Communications Credits wallet” option for prepaid international minutes. Amaxra consultants can help your business to make the most economical decision for your business based on how your employees communicate internationally.
How your business can get ready now for the new Teams Phone with Calling Plan
Amaxra is preparing our Microsoft 365 Business subscription customers with the Business Voice add-on for a smooth transition to the new Teams Phone with Calling Plan. Starting on January 1, 2022, Amaxra can add Teams Phone with Calling Plan to all organizations with the following Microsoft cloud-powered productivity suite subscriptions:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium
- Microsoft 365 F1 and F3
- Microsoft 365 E3 and A3
- Microsoft Office 365 F1, F3, E1, E3, A1 and A3
When you choose Amaxra to set up Teams Phone with Calling Plan for your business, the process is simple and fast with no hardware to buy or maintain onsite because everything is delivered from the Microsoft cloud. However, for organizations that already have public branch exchange (PBX) hardware onsite and want to “purchase dial tone” from a third-party telecom provider, Amaxra can work with you to get Teams connected to the PSTN as well.
No matter how you want to deliver business telephony to your hybrid workforce, Amaxra consultants will help you find the best solution for your organization.
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