Interest in unified communications technologies spiked 86% during the pandemic as companies moved fast to rearrange their business model, introducing new ways for workforces to be productive regardless of location. So began the race toward all-in-one remote collaboration platforms that could centralize communications with capabilities like virtual presence, chat, and conferencing – one of the most popular being Microsoft Teams, which experienced 450% growth in active users from March 2020 to April 2021.
However, there’s one caveat that has prevented companies from maximizing the platform’s power: PSTN Calling.
Companies must purchase a calling plan in order to leverage Microsoft Teams as their corporate phone system. This service offers customers a way to enable their PSTN calling needs with Teams, and while Microsoft natively offers Teams Calling Plan Options, prices can be stiff particularly for large organizations (more on this below). Also, Microsoft Teams native Calling Plans may not have as much global reach as some multinational companies need.
The cost issue comes as a result of per-seat pricing, which means licenses must be purchased for each individual user. When you purchase the Teams Calling Plan directly from Microsoft, you are buying blocks of local and long-distance calling minutes at a fixed price. PSTN access is considered an add-on to each user with a per-person, per-month pricing structure.
Metrigy Analyst Irwin Lazar recently reported that the average cost of a Microsoft Teams deployment with the Microsoft Cloud PBX voice plan is around $25 per seat. While this is fine for a small business with a handful of employees, the average large organization (say, 3,000 employees), would be looking at an investment of around $75,000 per month. Larger organizations are easily looking at millions of dollars annually.
The benefits of Microsoft Teams native calling plans are undeniable, but the cost and lack of local dialing in the countries you require can be problematic. For companies most affected, there is an alternative: direct routing.
Direct routing involves customers (and/or their partners) bringing their own SIP trunking services to connect Teams to the PSTN. Introduced in 2018, direct routing feature enables customers to use their existing telephony infrastructure with Teams, creating a “full voice service” when combined with Microsoft’s Phone System for Office 365.
Companies, especially larger organizations, are more likely to use or evaluate direct routing thanks to its ability to support existing SIP trunking contracts, as well as provide lower PSTN access costs compared to the traditional Teams Calling Plan. That helps explain why 70% of Teams users have used direct routing from a single global provider to connect their Microsoft calling service to the PSTN, according to Metrigy. In their research, Metrigy concludes that enterprises using a third-party “Direct Route” voice plan (like the one Masergy offers) can save up to 70% on license fees.
Masergy Calling for Microsoft Teams is a seamlessly integrated PSTN replacement solution for Microsoft Teams Calling that delivers top-quality voice performance and major cost efficiency. The service is secured by encryption and delivered 100% from the cloud. If you’re not ready to move completely to the cloud, you can use your existing on-premise PBX system leveraging Masergy’s SIP trunking hardware to integrate with Teams.
Here’s what makes Masergy’s direct routing calling plan a game-changer:
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