Microsoft Teams can act as your phone service: Here’s what you need to consider

Avatar for Shawn CookeBy Shawn Cooke|Jan 13, 2021|7:30 am CST

One cool thing about Microsoft® Teams is that it can act as your corporate phone service, but leveraging Teams in this way brings with it important considerations in the way of cost, service quality, and global reach. Many IT leaders are surprised to hear that they have more than one choice when it comes to how they want to set up their Microsoft Teams telephony service. Here’s what you need to know about Microsoft’s Calling Plan for Teams and how Masergy can save you money and much more.

Two choices for connecting the PSTN service

If you’re a “Microsoft shop,” you’re likely enjoying the simplicity of how Microsoft Teams, Office and Groups all work together—it’s an efficiency that equates to avoiding hours of integration and configuration for IT. This holistic system of services is precisely what Microsoft considers one of its biggest selling points, and the collaboration benefits are stretching even farther today with integration into telephony systems.

When IT leaders want to leverage Microsoft Teams as their telephony service, it requires a PSTN (public switched telephone network) service. Customers have two choices for connecting to the PSTN:

  1. Microsoft Teams Calling Plan which provides blocks of local and long-distance calling minutes for a fixed price, with Microsoft provisioning phone numbers. PSTN is considered an add-on to each individual user with a per person, per month pricing structure.
  2. Direct Routing in which customers (and/or their partners) bring their own SIP trunking services to connect Teams to the PSTN, with the customer/partner maintaining control over their phone numbers.
    Originally released in June 2018, Direct Routing features enable customers to use their existing telephony infrastructure with Teams, creating a “full voice service” when combined with Microsoft’s Phone System for Office 365.
    According to studies from Nemertes Research, “larger organizations, as well as those planning deployments in 2021, are more likely to be using or evaluating Direct Routing thanks to its ability to support existing SIP trunking contracts, and to provide lower PSTN access costs compared to the Calling Plan.” Read Nemertes’ complete guide, Successfully Migrating to Microsoft Teams.

Considerations for Microsoft Teams Calling Plans

When you turn to Microsoft’s Calling Plan for this service, you’ll want to think about:

  • Cost Model: With the Teams Calling Plan, licenses are sold by DID and international service is an additional per person/per month fee. These facts alone push some customers to opt for the Direct Routing alternative.
  • Global Reach: Global enterprises needing service all across the globe will need to ensure all their needs can be met. Some IT leaders may find the Teams Calling Plan simply can’t go where they need it to.
  • Quality Control: Call quality and performance analytics are necessary for controlling the user experience. Ensuring every remote and at-home employee has pristine VoIP and video calls is a top priority for many IT leaders.

Masergy’s direct routing solution

As a Microsoft Teams Direct Routing provider, Masergy helps IT leaders ensure their PSTN service delivers on the needs of their enterprise. Those who choose Masergy’s Calling for Microsoft Teams service get:

Pay-for-Use Model: Clients pay for what they use, which can help right-size the calling plan. SIP Trunking allows your business to deploy and pay for only the concurrent call paths you need. No new on-premise hardware is required.

Global Service: Masergy’s service offers PSTN, SIP trunking, and in-country calling in 25+ countries. Clients enjoy private, encrypted connectivity with local dialing in all 25 countries. It’s a wide-reaching service designed to make international, long-distance calls cost effective.

Quality Under Control: Service is delivered through Masergy’s software-defined network, which was purpose-built for VoIP and video communications. Moreover, deep performance analytics are available in Masergy’s UCaaS Analyst dashboard. This helps IT leaders:

  • Gain valuable insight and drive strategic business planning with detailed analytics
  • Optimize viewing, controlling, and reporting with highly customized dashboard
  • Get visibility into diagnostics that demonstrate service level quality and performance
  • Manage, filter, and analyze data into actionable insights to reduce time to resolution for support teams

Security: Security is a built-in feature with encrypted SIP trunks. Masergy’s encrypted SIP trunks into Microsoft provide call paths for all inbound/outbound calls over the PSTN.

Few IT leaders are aware that Direct Routing connections offer an alternative to Microsoft’s Calling Plan. With Masergy’s service, there is a direct, encrypted connection between Masergy and Microsoft, so clients get security and simplicity in one solution.

Ready to learn more?  Contact us today for a free consultation on Masergy’s Calling for Microsoft Teams service.

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