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Microsoft 365 Business Voice Without Calling Plan
Can Microsoft 365 Business Voice be purchased without a calling plan? How and where can you purchase Business Voice without a calling plan?
What Is Microsoft Business Voice?
As with its predecessor, Skype for Business, where calls to other Skype users were free, calls between Teams users are free too. This means, so long as you only make internal calls and don't make calls with your customers or clients, you won’t have to pay for Microsoft Teams.
But, if you want to make and receive external calls, Teams must connect to the PSTN. That means connection charges and call costs and Teams requires some bolt-on packages before it will work.
Microsoft Business Voice is a bundle license that combines Microsoft Phone System, Audio Conferencing and a calling plan. Until recently, the Business Voice bundle was only available to Microsoft 365 Business licenses . Now, Microsoft Business Voice is available to those with Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Enterprise licenses. As a result, it’s simpler to turn Microsoft Teams into a phone system.
The Microsoft Phone System package allows you to make phone calls to external numbers with Teams. It also comes with some features that let you build a basic caller experience for your customers. That means features like auto attendants, call queues and call forwarding.
The Audio Conferencing package allows you to conduct conference calls through Teams. You’ll need a calling plan to lease domestic or international minutes to your users so you can make outbound calls.
Keep Your Team Connected
Stay ahead with a phone system built for your business needs
Can Microsoft 365 Business Voice Be Purchased Without a Calling Plan?
You can now buy Business Voice without a calling plan from a Microsoft reseller or partner. This is another recent change, introduced with Microsoft’s latest 2021 updates to their Teams-related products and licenses.
Using Teams to make and receive business calls with a calling plan from a third party requires Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams. You can still buy the Business Voice package with an included calling plan if you buy from Microsoft.
As per Microsoft’s documentation, Microsoft 365 Business Voice is now available with the following licenses:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium
- Microsoft 365 F1
- Microsoft 365 F3
- Office 365 F3
- Microsoft and Office 365 Enterprise E1 or E3
- Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Education A1 or A3
- Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Government G1 or G3
- Microsoft 365 Nonprofit Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Nonprofit Business Standard
- Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Nonprofit E1 or E3
Microsoft Teams Calling Plans
The domestic calling plan included with Microsoft Business Voice offers 1200 minutes per month in the UK. In the US and Canada, you'll get 3000 domestic minutes per month. For an extra charge, you can opt for an international calling plan to pay for a certain number of international minutes upfront.
Or, you can pay for international call charges on a pay-as-you-go basis with Microsoft’s Communications Credits. These act as call credit on your account and are used on an ad-hoc basis.
1200 minutes for domestic calls isn’t a lot, and any team making a lot of outbound calls will find itself tearing through these minutes in no time. This leaves Teams users that need more minutes having to resort to pay-as-you-go credit - not a cost-effective option.
Such businesses would be better off using an unlimited calling plan from a third-party provider and using their service in conjunction with Microsoft Teams.
Third-Party Calling Plans
If you license Microsoft Business Voice through a Microsoft partner or reseller, you’ll have the option of purchasing without one of Microsoft’s calling plans. This lets you use a calling plan from one of these partners or resellers, who must offer a Teams Direct Routing service to integrate with Teams.
Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams
Since you need a calling plan for a working phone system, you'll need to buy a calling plan from a third-party provider if you want to buy Business Voice without a calling plan.
This requires you configure Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams, which allows Microsoft Phone System, your on-premises telephone hardware and your chosen third-party provider to work together to form a single, operational phone system.
Yay.com is offering more cost-effective calling plans and more powerful phone system features than Microsoft’s own through our Direct Routing Integration . If you’re enjoying the Microsoft Teams experience but need a cost-effective calling plan with unlimited calls to the UK and 54 other countries, sign up with Yay.com now and call from anywhere on any device.
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Content Manager at Yay.com
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Pros & Cons of Microsoft 365 Business Voice (Teams VoIP Phone System)
January 7th, 2021 | Microsoft 365
What is Microsoft 365 Business Voice?
Microsoft 365 Business Voice adds cloud-based telephony to Teams, creating a single place for your business’s communication and collaboration needs. Business Voice lets you make calls to anywhere, from any device – computer, phone, tablet, etc. Business Voice is hosted on Microsoft’s trusted cloud, which means you can expect reliable service and excellent audio quality.
Microsoft 365 Business Voice is available either as included features with certain packages, or as optional add-on plans. When you’re subscribed to a Microsoft voice service, in most cases, Microsoft becomes your phone system, your phone line provider, and your long-distance provider – which can reduce or eliminate other ancillary systems, complexities, and costs.
Who is Microsoft 365 Business Voice For?
Most small businesses – and even many larger businesses – should seriously consider using Business Voice as their voice solution. 99% of companies just need their day-to-day phone system to have dial in, dial out, voicemail, voicemail transcription and voicemail-to-email, audio conferencing, call forwarding, and presence information. Microsoft 365 Business Voice can readily handle all those features, and more.
When isn’t Business Voice the right solution?
Business Voice may not be the right solution today for certain uses, such as call centers, integrated voice response applications, systems that require hardware integration (like to unlock a door from a phone in the office), or for multinational companies with voice needs in areas that have government restrictions on permissible voice services.
Pros & Cons of Microsoft 365 Business Voice
- Mobility – Access your phone system from anywhere on any device, all you need is an internet connection.
- Less expensive than the average VoIP phone system – The average cost of a VoIP phone system is between $25 and $40 per user/month ( source ).
- Seamless integration with the communication and collaboration tools you already use every day – Move from an instant messaging chat to a voice call to a video conference with full history and continuity, and easy on-screen management and control.
- Cloud-based convenience – No phone system to manage, no tie to a physical site or office or location.
- No additional software to manage or license – Business Voice is an add-on to your existing Microsoft 365 subscription.
- Peripheral flexibility – Use almost any computer headset, camera, microphone, and speaker set that you want, or you can use telephone desk sets that are Microsoft Teams compatible and function just like a regular high-feature desktop phone.
- Quality depends on internet connection – Like all VoIP phone solutions, your call quality depends on your internet connection. If you’re trying to work somewhere that has poor internet connectivity, you’ll most likely have subpar service.
- Built for general use – As mentioned above, Business Voice may not be the proper solution if your business has specific or complex phone needs.
- Limited user capacity – Business Voice only allows you to have 300 users on your plan, making it not suitable for larger organizations.
Microsoft 365 Business Voice Plans & Pricing
The standard Business Voice plan is an add-on to your Microsoft 365 subscription (that includes Teams). The cost is $20 per u ser/month (up to 300 users) and it includes:
- Cloud-based phone system with advanced features including call transfer, multi-level auto attendants, and call queues.
- Domestic calling plan with 3,000 minutes per user, per month within the US and Canada.
- Dial-in audio conferencing for up to 250 people per meeting.
- 24×7 customer support, backed by Microsoft.
*If your business requires international calling, you can purchase an international calling plan that is an additional $12 per user/month.
*If you want to use a third-party calling plan, you can purchase Business Voice without the domestic calling plan for $12 per user/month, this is currently available in 70 countries (including the US)
Business Voice total cost break-down for each Microsoft 365 plan
Get Microsoft 365 Business Voice For Your Company
At Aldridge, we consult clients on what technology is right for their business. If you’re considering switching to Microsoft 365 Business Voice, we’d be happy to take some time to help you determine if that’s the right solution for your company.
Don’t have Microsoft 365? We also do turnkey Microsoft 365 implementation projects. Talk to our IT support team .
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Microsoft Teams Phone
Teams Phone—more than a cloud phone system. Experience smart communication and seamless collaboration with the only calling solution native to Teams.
Flexible and easy to use
Communicate and collaborate effortlessly across devices and spaces with intuitive, seamless calling.
Intelligent and connected
Create meaningful engagements with intelligent capabilities that connect your business and increase productivity
Secure, reliable, and easy to manage
Save time and enjoy peace of mind with a reliable and secure calling solution that is easy to manage.
Microsoft is positioned as highest for “Ability to Execute” and furthest for “Completeness of Vision” in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide. 1
Learn how Microsoft helped customers achieve more efficient and effective communication, lower costs, and help IT teams save time in the commissioned Forrester study: The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Teams Phone. 2
According to new research by GigaOm, Microsoft has the highest average score for voice quality—with network and server uptime at par with competitors—and offers competitive service level agreements with generous service credits. 3
Simplified, enterprise-grade calling in Microsoft Teams
Basic call control.
Connect with your team, customers, and partners with voice and video calls from a Teams chat, the Calls app, or the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
Make and answer calls
Make one-on-one or group calls directly from a chat or use the dial pad to call a phone number.
Bring someone else into your one-on-one or group call with the merge function.
Transfer and ring back
Transfer a call to a colleague and select ring back if there’s no answer.
Transfer calls between devices
Whether on the go or at a desk, at home, or in the office, transfer calls from one device to another while on a call.
Access your voicemail
Access, listen to, and review your voicemails using playback controls, voicemail summary, and transcripts.
Transcribe your calls
Transcribe calls no matter where you are. Focus on what’s being said, knowing you’ll be able to go back to the recording and transcription afterwards.
Call on the go with Apple Carplay
Join calls and meetings using your vehicle’s built-in controls or hands-free with Siri.
Advanced call control
Meet the needs of your evolving business with modern phone capabilities.
Let people call your organization and navigate a menu system to speak to the right department, call queue, person, or an operator.
Route callers to people in your organization who can help with a particular issue or question.
Collaborate and share information within the channel while taking calls in the call queue.
Automatically display information via web browser window when an incoming call is answered by a call queue agent.
Copilot in Teams Phone
Add generative AI capabilities to phone calls to get real-time summarization and insights.
Make phone calls using PSTN connectivity options combined with the Teams Phone system.
Manage your PSTN calling and session border controllers (SBCs) with participating operators in the Microsoft Operator Connect program.
Teams Phone Mobile
Seamlessly integrate your users' mobile identities with Teams. Assign a single number and implement a solution that works across network and devices.
Connect your SBCs to Teams Phone to use your own PSTN operator.
Microsoft Teams Calling Plans
Take advantage of this all-in-the-cloud solution with Microsoft as your PSTN operator.
Support customer interaction work streams, using Teams as the hub for internal and external customer connections.
Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform
Quickly set up phone systems for agents to assist customers on a scalable platform built, owned, and operated by Microsoft.
Contact center partner integrations
Use your existing contact center solution together with Teams Phone for a more connected contact center experience.
Experience instant, high-quality audio and video communication everywhere you work with seamless transitions across devices.
Desk phones and Teams displays
Make and receive calls from devices certified for use with Teams, including intuitive screens and controls to enhance the Teams calling experience.
Choose from a variety of headsets certified for Teams—wired, Bluetooth, over the ear, or on the ear—to suit every preference or need.
Connect with USB- or Bluetooth-enabled speakerphone options to easily scale audio based on the room size and number of meeting participants.
Add your Microsoft Teams plan today
Microsoft teams phone standard.
Originally starting from $8.00 now starting from $8.00
(Annual subscription–auto renews) 4
Cloud-based phone system
Make and receive voice and video calls over PSTN or an internet connection
- Join calls from a range of devices and seamlessly transfer calls between devices
Add operator PSTN service with Operator Connect or Direct Routing
Combine mobile calling plans with Operator Connect Mobile
99.99% uptime SLA
Teams Phone with Calling Plan (country zone 1 - US)
Originally starting from $15.00 now starting from $15.00
Price includes communication taxes and fees. 5
Everything included in Teams Phone Standard
Phone number and PSTN service from Microsoft
Inclusive of domestic calling 6
Teams Essentials and Teams Phone with domestic calling
Originally starting from $20.00 now starting from $16.00
Price includes communication taxes and fees . 5
Includes Teams Phone with Calling Plan and Teams Essentials, featuring:
Unlimited meetings and messaging
File sharing, tasks, and polling
10 GB of cloud storage per user
Microsoft 365 E5
Originally starting from $57.00 now starting from $57.00
Productivity apps and services
Enterprise-grade security and compliance
Save up to 33% when you buy Teams Essentials and Teams Phone together
Save money and boost collaboration with Teams Essentials plus Teams Phone—now starting at $8 per person per month. Improve workflows by simplifying communications channels with chat, video, file sharing, and calling. 10
What customers say about Teams Phone
AHW uses Teams Phone to transform the way it communicates with customers and improve its selling process.
Reed uses Teams Phone to untether workers from their desks, improving productivity and morale.
Isuzu Motors Limited
Isuzu Motors Limited drives workplace flexibility and efficiency with Teams Phone.
Custom pricing available
Add Teams Phone to your current Microsoft 365 plan to get the calling features every organization needs. Contact Sales for custom pricing.
See rates for where you want to call
Get a detailed list of the stndard subscription and pay-per-minute rates for your agreement by country or region and by currency. Communications Credits rates are for charges not included in your subscription plan. 7
Select the country or region for your organization’s billing address.
Select your rate type. 8
Frequently asked questions
What is microsoft teams phone.
Teams subscriptions include Teams Phone and enable calls from one Teams app to another. Making and receiving calls to and from landlines and mobile phones on the PSTN in Teams is available with an add-on such as Teams Phone Standard or Teams Phone with Calling Plan or is included in Microsoft 365 E5. These options provide a cloud-based phone system in Teams with features such as hold, blind and safe transfers, and reporting features for professionals who manage calling solutions.
How does Teams Phone work?
It replaces traditional PBXs and enables key calling capabilities with a cloud-based call control system that provides the overall telephony workload for Microsoft Teams.
What is a Microsoft Teams Calling Plan?
A calling plan provides customers with a primary phone number and calling minutes to make and receive phone calls. A domestic calling plan is included in Teams Phone with Calling Plan or can be added onto Microsoft 365 E5. 9
What is Direct Routing?
Direct Routing helps you connect a supported, customer-provided SBC to Teams Phone. With this capability, you can configure on-premises PSTN connectivity with Microsoft Teams client. Learn more .
What is Operator Connect?
Operator Connect is another option for providing PSTN connectivity with Teams Phone. For more information about Teams voice solutions and PSTN connectivity options, see Plan your Teams voice solution and PSTN connectivity options .
Can I use my existing phone numbers?
Yes. You can transfer your phone numbers from your current service provider. After you port your phone numbers over, Microsoft will become your service provider.
Can I bring my own calling plan?
Yes, customers can work with their Microsoft partner to bring their own calling plan. A configuration called Direct Routing allows customers to connect voice trunks directly from their network to Teams or interconnect other telephony entities, such as call centers or analog devices.
Microsoft Teams Phone Standard is a standalone subscription (without a calling plan) that is specifically designed for this situation.
What phones are supported?
Devices certified for Teams provide a seamless Teams experience on desk phones, conference phones, and meeting room systems. Learn more about Microsoft Teams-certified devices . For available devices go to the Microsoft Teams Devices Marketplace .
Teams supports a portfolio of desk phones for customers requiring a traditional phone experience.
To deliver a high-quality and reliable Teams experience on phones, Microsoft is partnering and actively working with Yealink, Crestron, Lenovo, Polycom, and Audiocodes to develop and certify a wide portfolio of desk phones and conference room audio devices. To get the latest information on Teams devices, go to Teams Devices Marketplace .
What is the difference between the offers for small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises?
There are two offers for small and medium-sized businesses:
- Teams Phone with Calling Plan combines a phone system and a domestic calling plan.
- Teams Phone Standard without a calling plan provides a phone system that requires a calling plan from a service provider.
For enterprises: A phone system and audio conferencing are included in Office 365 E5 and Microsoft 365 E5. A Teams calling plan can be added or it can all be purchased separately. Enterprises can also add Teams Phone with Calling Plan as an add-on to qualifying subscriptions.
Teams Phone with Calling Plan is currently available in 35 markets. See country and region availability . A phone system is available in more than 120 countries, everywhere Microsoft 365 is available.
The product features and experience are the same across the offers for small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Pricing and availability may differ.
What is Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan?
A Teams Phone with Calling Plan package is a cloud-based phone system that enables users to make, receive, and transfer calls to and from landlines and mobile phones on the PSTN in Teams. Teams Phone with Calling Plan includes a phone system and a domestic calling plan— available in 35 markets .
Who is Teams Phone with Calling Plan intended for?
Teams Phone with Calling Plan is designed for small and medium-sized businesses and enterprise customers using Microsoft 365 that are seeking a modern phone system. Teams Phone with Calling Plan can be added onto Microsoft Teams Essentials or Microsoft 365 subscriptions that include Microsoft Teams. Qualifying plans include Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, E3, or A3; Office 365 E1, E3, A1, or A3; and Teams Essentials .
What’s included in Teams Phone with Calling Plan?
A Teams Phone with Calling Plan includes a phone system and a domestic calling plan. Learn more .
A prepaid wallet (known as Communications Credits ) is available for adding toll-free, additional minutes, and other pay-per-minute charges.
An optional international calling plan that includes 600 minutes per person per month can be purchased as an add-on.
Where is Teams Phone with Calling Plan available?
Businesses operating across 35 markets: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (UK), United States (US). Go to this Microsoft Teams documentation page to learn how to plan, set up, and use Teams Phone with Calling Plan.
Where can I share thoughts and ideas?
Got a suggestion? We’d love to hear from you. Here are three ways to share feedback:
- Microsoft Teams desktop app—Select Help on the bottom left. Then select Report a problem or Suggest a feature .
- Microsoft Tech Community —Ask questions and join discussions.
Learn more about Microsoft Teams
Empower your team to collaborate seamlessly with file sharing and project management on one centralized platform.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Elevate your business communication with the VoIP feature, enabling crystal-clear voice calls and real-time collaboration.
Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
Transform your organization's telephony system with PBX capabilities, providing a reliable and flexible solution for managing internal and external calls efficiently.
Business phone systems
Enhance your company's communication infrastructure with comprehensive business phone systems, enabling seamless connectivity and advanced call management features.
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS)
Streamline your communication channels with UCaaS, an all-in-one solution that combines voice, video, and messaging capabilities, empowering your team to collaborate effectively from anywhere.
Experience enhanced productivity and seamless communication that integrates your Teams business phone system directly into the platform.
Take your organization's calling capabilities to the next level with the enterprise-grade Teams calling feature, delivering high-quality voice and video calls, advanced call routing, and robust security measures.
Voice and video calling
Connect face-to-face with colleagues, clients, and partners through the video calling feature, enabling immersive virtual meetings and fostering collaboration across distances.
Get started with Microsoft Teams today
-  Gartner is a registered trademark and service mark and Magic Quadrant is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission. All rights reserved. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide, by Rafael Benitez, Megan Fernandez, Christopher Trueman, Pankil Sheth, 28 November 2022.
-  The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Teams Phone, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, December 2022.
-  GigaOm, Hands-On Field Test: Voice Services Comparison, Competitive Voice Services Reliability Benchmark v1.0, Dana Hernandez, September 13, 2022.
-  Cancellation policies for paid subscriptions may vary based on factors such as your customer status, your product, and your domain selections on Microsoft. You may cancel your subscription at any time in the Microsoft 365 admin center. Certain subscriptions may incur a cancellation fee. Learn how to cancel your Microsoft 365 subscription . When a subscription is canceled, all associated data will be deleted. Learn more about data retention, deletion, and destruction in Microsoft 365 .
-  The Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan service component—domestic calling plan—is sold inclusive of all required taxes and fees, including 911 fees and other transactional taxes that typically apply to communication services in the US. The price includes these taxes and fees. The phone system component is sold tax-exclusive and any applicable sales tax will appear as a separate charge in the US.
-  Domestic Calling Plan includes 3,000 minutes for the US and UK, and 1,200 minutes for the rest of world.
-  Rates listed (for tenants provisioned in the US) do not include tax. International dial-out rates are subject to change monthly, and individual rates are not locked during the term of your agreement. Changes will be minimized where possible to avoid disruption while ensuring prices remain competitive with local market rates and conditions.
-  Download standard subscription or pay-per-minute rates. Standard subscription rates include dial-in calls to toll-free numbers, and dial-out calls. Pay-per-minute rates include dial-in calls to toll numbers, dial-in calls to toll-free numbers, and dial-out calls.
-  Availability of audio conferencing and calling plans varies by country and region. See supported countries and regions for more information.
-  The discount offer is available to new and existing customers who license a 12-month Microsoft Teams Essentials and Microsoft Teams Phone bundle (with or without a Microsoft Teams calling plan) through Direct and CSP direct channels between July 17, 2023, and January 17, 2024. This promotion is valid in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This annual subscription automatically renews and is subject to recurring billing at the regular price and selected term. Customers can cancel at any time to stop future charges. Microsoft reserves the right to cancel, change, or suspend this offer at any time without notice. Learn more about recurring billing in the U.K .
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True Costs of Teams Calling
- Post by Nick Phillips
- June 29, 2020
- Relevant categories: Teams , Voice
Previously we posted which Microsoft license do I need to use Direct Routing for Teams Calling from Lightwire Business in 2020, and this is an update, which now includes some pricing and implementation models comparisons.
Navigating licenses can be tricky and time-consuming, especially when they frequently change – it’s a question we often get from our clients and partners.
On April 1st, 2020 Microsoft released a new ‘Microsoft 365 Business Voice with Direct Routing’, i.e. ‘Business Voice’ without the calling plan, which allows you to unlock Direct Routing for Teams Calling that had previously only been available for those on Enterprise Plans via the Phone System add on.
The Microsoft 365 Business Voice with Direct Routing can be added to the following plans for up to 300 users:
- Office 365 Business Essentials (As of April 21st – Microsoft 365 Business Basic)
- Office 365 Business Premium (As of April 21st – Microsoft 365 Business Standard)
- Office 365 A1, Office 365 E1,
- Microsoft 365 Business (As of April 21st – Microsoft 365 Business Premium) via CSP only
- Office 365 A3 and Office 365 E3 (through CSP only)
What does this mean in less technical terms? Even the smallest businesses will be able to use Lightwire make calls via Microsoft Teams in most cases.
Microsoft Phone System and optional Audio Conferencing can be added to the following plans:
- Office 365 Enterprise E1
- Office 365 Enterprise E3
- Phone System and Audio Conferencing is included in Office 365 Enterprise E5.
The graph below from Microsoft summarises the features and requirements, but it’s confusing as they use a different name for the business add-on and uses USD pricing.
Microsoft Teams Services
To make it simple; you only need to worry about these two add-ons:
- 365 Business plans add the Business Voice w/Direct Routing – Approx. $18.14 p/month.
- 365 Enterprise Plans add the Phone System – Approx. $12.10 p/month.
- Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 – included.
Pricing in NZD and ex GST.
This means that if you have users with Microsoft 365 Business subscriptions will need to get the add-on named “ Microsoft 365 business voice without calling plan ” which retails for approximately $18.14 p/month.
This is sometimes referred to as ‘Microsoft 365 business voice with direct routing, as shown in the table on the right.
For those that have users licensed with 365 enterprise E3 or E1 licenses they will need to add on the “ Microsoft phone system license ” which is $12.10 p/month
But if you have Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 licensed users you will not need to add on any additional licensing as the is that subscription already contains the Microsoft phone system license.
Scope, design, provision and support Teams Calling with Confidence.
Get the free eBook that walks you through all of it without the sales pitch. No forms, no spam, no cold calls. The eBook is 100% free.
What does a user costs for Microsoft Licensing?
For some, it still might be a bit unclear, but here are the two most common scenarios:
Microsoft 365 Business Standard + Microsoft 365 Business Voice Without Calling Plan, which is $40.04 p /month and Office 365 E3 + Microsoft Phone System, which is $44 p/month.
Here’s a complete break down for you.
If you have 365 Business pricing, this is your total per-user cost:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic + Microsoft 365 Business Voice Without Calling Plan $25.74 p/month
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard + Microsoft 365 Business Voice Without Calling Plan $40.04 p/month
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium + Microsoft 365 Business Voice Without Calling Plan $48.34 p/month
If you have Office 365 Enterprise:
- Office 365 E1 + Microsoft Phone System $29 p/month
- Office 365 E3 + Microsoft Phone System $44 p/month
- Office 365 E5 = Includes Microsoft Phone System $78.30 p/month
- Office 365 E5 without Audio Conferencing + Microsoft Phone System $90.40 p/month
Finally, if you have Microsoft 365 Enterprise:
- Microsoft 365 E3 + Microsoft Phone System $83.10 p/month
- Microsoft 365 E5 = Includes Microsoft Phone System $120.70 p/month
This Microsoft pricing is in NZD and is the RRP from Microsoft on Annual Commit basis and sourced from within an Office 365 tenancy + the calling add-on prices listed previously, ex GST and in NZD.
What’s calling going to cost?
Lightwire designed a calling model that scales better for businesses; our approach is excellent for companies that have lots of staff or those that have a lot of part-time staff or casual workers.
Our pricing and bundles are based off the number of simultaneous calls you need to be able to make or in other words how many people will be on the phone at any given time called a channel, and a channel represents a single call .
Our pricing includes a generous amount of outbound calling minutes based on the bundles and with pricing from $44 per month for a 5 Channel Bundle.
We like to say don’t get sucked into paying for staff unnecessarily that are not using the system, so let’s looks at how this price model stacks up against the competition and a real-world example.
Let’s say this is your local law firm, ‘Contracts R Us’ and they have 50 staff members (users) with phones and have licensed all them all with Microsoft E3 + phone system which as we saw before cost $44 per month, per user (just for Microsoft licensing).
Now they need to pick a direct routing provider, so they look at competitor A on the left diagram.
For this, we can see the industry-standard cost for Teams calling is around $25 per user (this on top of your Microsoft licensing) bringing the cost of each user to $69 per month.
We can see that calling alone is going to cost them $1,250 per month and those Microsoft Licensing costs will be $2,200 bringing and a total cost of $3,450 per month which is direct routing and the licensing.
That’s pretty expensive, but their model does include unlimited calling in most cases so we’ll give them that for now.
But Contracts R Us has worked out only a maximum of 20 people need to use the phone at the same time, and that’s a rare occasion, so have looked for an alternative; here’s where our model, the one on the right comes in.
Under our model, a 20-Channel bundle from us at $269 per month and we broke that down, averaged it across all the users (including the Microsoft Licensing costs) they are now only looking at $49.38 per user. That brings the total to $2,469 for the month for everything and saves them $981 p/month.
Our model doesn’t penalise Contracts R Us for having lots of users who don’t use the phone frequently. But what if they need to hire ten interns for the summer?
They would only need to cover the Microsoft Licensing costs under our model or pay another $25 per user, per month ($250 per month for all ten users) over the summer under the competitor’s mode.
Ours is scalable and cost-effective, which is why we like it and have had a good uptake from customers.
How do you work out how many Channels you need?
That’s how many calls you need to be able to support simultaneously, for an average business take the number of staff you have and divide by two for and three if you’re looking for further cost savings. With Lightwire, you can always upgrade the number of channels as you grow.
What about Implementation costs?
That’s down to you as we consider Teams Calling with Direct Routing as a third party PBX, which we do not touch (apart from providing the voice capability). Check out our webinar on what you need to set this up and implement for your business.
As general guidance, we’ve spoken with a few of our partners to gauge how long their implementations have taken, and you’re looking at 20 minutes for each voice user you have.
So for Contracts R Us with 50 users, it would require around 16 hours of effort to set them up, which includes sorting out licencing, calling queues etc. The actual time it might take you to set up Teams Calling with Direct routing is going to vary wildly based on size, complexity, requirements, etc.
For more information or any questions you have, feel free to reach our to the sales team at [email protected] .
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Action Required: Replacing Microsoft 365 Business Voice and get unlimited dial-in capabilities for Microsoft 365
Get unlimited dial-in capabilities with $0 microsoft teams audio conferencing with dial-out to usa/can sku.
In August 2021 Microsoft announced that they would be adding unlimited dial-in capabilities for Microsoft Teams meetings for eligible Microsoft 365 products .
Previously, partners could only get Microsoft 365 audio conferencing free with promotion applied to the audio conferencing add-on subscription, which your customer will be charged the full price when the promo subscription renew.
You can now get unlimited dial-in for your customers by adding Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing with dial-out to USA/CAN (Product ID: CFQ7TTC0JXCZ, RRP US$0) in PRISM. If your customer is on legacy CSP subscription, they can add the product as an add-on under their eligible legacy CSP subscription.
Note that unlike the paid M365 Audio Conferencing SKU, THIS $0 SKU DOES NOT include 60 dial-out minutes per user, per month. If your user requires dial-out minutes, please continue to purchase the paid Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing SKU.
The list of Commercial M365 products eligible for the $0 Microsoft Teams Audio conferencing SKU are as follows:
- Microsoft 365 E3
- Office 365 E3
- Office 365 E1
- Microsoft 365 F3
- Microsoft 365 F1
- Office 365 F3
- Teams Essentials (Azure AD Identity
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium
For more info please refer here.
What do you need to do if my customer user does not require the dial-out minutes of Audio Conferencing?
- Go to PRISM portal to identity customers with Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing subscriptions using Customer subscription report
- Select Customer tab
- If your customer is currently on legacy CSP, replace Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing add-on subscriptions with zero dollar Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing with dial-out to USA/CAN add-on u nder manage subscriptions under the base subscriptions (such as Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Office 365 E3 etc.)
- Add the zero dollar Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing with dial-out to USA/CAN (Product ID: CFQ7TTC0JXCZ, RRP US$0)
- Turn off auto-renewal of your existing Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing subscriptions, regardless of whether they are on monthly commitment or annual commitment (or you can choose to cancel the subscription if it is within 7 days from the subscription creation or renewal date).
Note: It is recommended that you perform step 6/7 on a test tenant first, before replacing the Microsoft 365 Audio conferencing subscriptions for all your customers. Again do not move to this $0 SKU if your customer requires dial-out minutes.
For more information, please reach out to your account manager or rhipe support team .
Replacing M365 Business Voice without calling plan with Microsoft Teams Phone Standard
Microsoft 365 Business Voice without calling plan and Microsoft 365 Business Voice were retired as of March 1 st 2022 and are replaced by Microsoft Teams Phone Standard and Teams Phone with calling plan.
For customers using Business Voice without Calling Plan, please replace it with the following 2 SKUs:
- Microsoft Teams Phone Standard (available for Commercial, Nonprofit and Education customers).
- Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing SKU, or Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing with dial-out to USA/CAN (a zero dollar SKU, available to commercial and NFP customers who do not need 60 dial-out minutes).
To move to the new licensing without any service disruption, please follow the steps below:
- Add the new products (MS Teams Phone Standard, MS Teams Audio conferencing)
- Assign the new licenses users by following the exact steps listed in the Microsoft documentation . (Note: Failure to follow the exact steps will result in disruption of service to the users)
- Suspend the Microsoft Business Voice without Calling Plan subscription
If the customer’s base subscription is on legacy CSP, they must add the replacement products under legacy CSP; if the customer’s subscription is on NCE already, the replacement products will need to be added under NCE.
Microsoft will still allow auto-renewal for existing Business Voice customers from July 7 to September 28 2022. From September 28 2022, existing Business Voice customers will need to transition to Teams Phone standard.
For the official announcement from Microsoft and detailed instructions of how to update licenses to the new product, please refer to the Microsoft documentation here .
What do you need to do?
- Go to PRISM portal to find customers with Business Voice without Calling plan subscriptions using Customer subscription report .
- Filter Product column with “ Business Voice without Calling Plan” (both with or without adoption promo).
Once the users licenses are replaced, suspend your existing Business Voice without calling plan subscriptions.
For more information, please reach out to your account manager or rhipe support team .
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The end of Microsoft 365 Business Voice. Move from Business Voice to Microsoft Teams licenses today!
#microsoft 365 , #cloud phone system , #microsoft teams , #microsoft teams phone , #phone system
In April 2020 Microsoft launched Business Voice, a cloud-based phone system built specifically for Microsoft Teams. These past few years Microsoft has worked hard to simplify the purchase decision process and streamline the delivery of enterprise-grade capabilities to small and medium-sized businesses.
What is Teams Phone with Calling Plan?
In June 2022 Microsoft retired Business Voice and consolidated it with their Enterprise offerings into a new SKU named "Teams Phone with Calling Plan" . Teams Phone with Calling Plan is an all-in-one communication solution that helps businesses reduce costs and simplify operations. It brings together calling, chat, meetings, and collaboration into a single app, enabling users to make phone calls from anywhere, on any device—including computers, smart phones, desk phones, and meeting rooms.
What is the difference between Teams Phone with Calling Plan and Business Voice?
The new voice bundle will include a phone system and domestic calling plan ONLY. Audio Conferencing functionality – previously available as part of Business Voice – is part of all Teams-inclusive Microsoft 365 and Office 365 SKUs (vs. an add-on feature) starting on March 1, 2022.
How can I purchase Teams Phone with Calling Plan?
Teams Phone with Calling Plan is available in 33 markets as an add-on to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 plans that include Microsoft Teams and can be purchased directly from Microsoft or through Microsoft partner . Teams Phone with Calling Plan can be added onto the following eligible subscriptions: Microsoft Teams Essentials, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, F1, F3, E3, A3 and Office 365 F1, F3, E1, E3, A1, A3.
Alternatively, customers can purchase a Teams Phone standalone SKU which allows them to purchase dial tone from a third-party provider. Customers can work with their Microsoft partner to add their own calling plan to the Teams Phone standalone offer.
What if I have DO NOT USE next to Microsoft 365 Business Voice?
Like DO NOT USE – Microsoft 365 Business Voice (without Calling Plan) , for example. If you have noticed this change in your tenant, we strongly recommend that you move from Business Voice to Teams Phone licenses before your original license expiration date. The license can still be used while they are still active, but DO NOT USE means existing Business Voice customers will not be automatically transitioned to the new licensing model and their Business Voice licenses will not be renewed at the next renewal date.
Before replacing Business Voice licenses, you first need to purchase replacement licenses for your users. You will need licenses to provide these features:
- Audio conferencing
- Cloud-based Phone System
- PSTN connectivity
How to update my current licenses?
Business Voice bundled the following three Teams add-on licenses:
- Microsoft Teams Phone for a cloud-based Phone System in Microsoft Teams.
- Audio Conferencing for dial-in and dial-out conferencing for meetings.
- Microsoft Calling Plans for domestic calls to Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) connectivity.
There are two license plans available for you depending on what your old license plan is:
- Teams Phone with Calling Plan and Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing with dial-out to USA/CAN if your old license plan is Business Voice with Calling Plan . This recommended license plan provides cloud-based Phone System capabilities, a Domestic Calling Plan with Microsoft as your PSTN provider, and dial-in and dial-out capabilities to meeting attendees organized by a licensed user.
- Microsoft Teams Phone Standard and Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing with dial-out to USA/CAN if your old license plan is Business Voice without Calling Plan . This license plan provides cloud-based Phone System capabilities that can be combined with a third-party calling plan with a PSTN provider using Operator Connect or Direct Routing and dial-in and dial-out capabilities to meeting attendees organized by a licensed user.
The Microsoft Teams Phone System with Calling Plan bundle is Microsoft’s all-in-the-cloud solution that makes it easy for organizations to turn Teams into a powerful and flexible telephone system. It allows your business to have:
- Toll and toll-free numbers.
- Auto attendants to help callers get to the right department.
- Call queues for high-traffic phone numbers.
- Users with their own phone numbers so they can receive calls.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we can help you obtain the new licenses and make the process of Microsoft Teams Phone System Initial Setup quick and easy.
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Microsoft Teams Voice: Complete Licensing Guide
There is often a great deal of confusion around how Microsoft Teams is licensed, as the marketing material from Microsoft often doesn’t provide adequate detail about the proper ways to license users and systems for Teams.
To hopefully simplify the guidelines, I’ve written this blog to provide a comprehensive breakdown of how to license your users given your specific needs. I’ll leave out the legacy information on Microsoft Skype for Business and concentrate solely on Teams.
All pricing provided in this blog is provided in US dollars and priced at MSRP through the NCE program.
Microsoft Teams Voice Licenses and Add-Ons:
Phone system ($8/user/month).
Phone System licenses provide the ability for a user to receive and transfer calls. Users can make online, peer-to-peer calls using Teams, but they will need an additional Calling Plan add-on to be able to make outbound calls using Microsoft as the PSTN calling provider.
Phone System is available as an add-on SKU or is included within the Office 365 E5 plan.
Calling Plan ($12/user/month Domestic, $24/user/month Domestic + International)
Calling Plan licenses provide users the ability to make outbound calls using Microsoft as the voice provider.
These can be purchased as domestic per user (3,000 minutes/user/month pooled) or domestic AND international per user (3,000 minutes/user/month pooled domestic, 600 minutes/user/month pooled international).
Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan Bundle ($15/user/month)
This license includes the phone system and domestic calling plan licenses above. It is eligible to be added to Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, E3 or A3; Office 365 F3, E1, E3, A1, or A3 Plans.
The Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan Bundle includes all of the following:
- Cloud-based phone system with advanced features including call transfer, multilevel auto attendants, and call queues.
- A domestic calling plan with 3,000 minutes 2 per user, per month within the US and Canada.
- Call from anywhere, on any device through the Microsoft Teams app on desktop, mobile, web, and desk phones.
- Around-the-clock customer support seven days a week, backed by Microsoft.
Audio Conferencing (Now Free)
Audio Conferencing provides the ability to create a Teams meeting that contains a PSTN dial-in number for users to call into. This license used to cost $4/user/month, but is now free with all Microsoft 365 subscriptions that include Microsoft Teams. Your Microsoft partner will need to add the free Audio Conferencing license add-on to your accounts.
Cloud Voicemail (included in Exchange Online Plan 2)
A Cloud Voicemail license stores voicemail in Exchange Online and allows users to check their voicemail in both the Outlook and Teams apps. If a user has Office 365 E1, they would not be able to use Cloud Voicemail as the Office 365 E1 plan only comes with Exchange Online Plan 1.
Now that the different plans are outlined, I’ll build out a few use cases to help narrow down which options best fit your needs.
Option #1: Office 365 E1 Approach
In this scenario, the organization would like to use Office 365 E1 as the base plan to license their users for voice. This is the lowest cost method as of today that is fully supported by Microsoft for all Teams functionality. I wouldn’t typically recommend this approach as it doesn’t include the full Office applications downloads, but it does provide the licensing needed to leverage Teams for Enterprise Voice.
- Office 365 Enterprise E1 Plan: $10/user/month
- Exchange Online (Plan 2): $8/user/month (needed for voicemail)
- Includes Phone System License
- Includes Domestic Calling Plan
- Audio Conferencing: Free
Total Cost per user = $33/user/month with the domestic Calling Plan and Audio Conferencing
Not sure if Teams is a good fit or which licensing plan is the best fit for your organization? Use our Microsoft Teams assessment!
Option #2: Office 365 E3 (and other suites) with Microsoft Teams Phone Add-On
Microsoft has simplified the voice licensing process by standardizing around the Microsoft Teams Phone will Calling Plan add-on. Before March 1, 2022, Business and Enterprise plans weren’t eligible for the same voice add-ons, which gave anyone involved in Teams Voice licensing more than their fair share of headaches.
This licensing bundles allow organizations, regardless of whether they use the enterprise or the small and medium business plans (Microsoft 365 Basic, Standard, or Premium) to use Teams as their phone system, which has been a big game changer for organizations that couldn’t justify the current price bump to E3 or E5.
If the organization would like to use Office 365 E3 as the base plan to license their users for voice, here’s what the lineup looks like:
- Exchange Online (Plan 2)
Total Cost per user = $38/user/month with the domestic Calling Plan
This simple licensing strategy, where you only need the base suite license and the the Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan Add-On, also works for the Microsoft 365 for business plans:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic ($6/user/month) + Teams Phone Bundle ($15/user/month) = $21/user/month
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard ($12.50/user/month) + Teams Phone Bundle ($15/user/month) = $27.50/user/month
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium ($22/user/month) + Teams Phone Bundle ($15/user/month) = $37/user/month
All of the Microsoft and Office 365 plans include different entitlements, and there’s much more at stake aside from the price. You can learn more about the key inclusions in each license and the reasons you might choose a certain plan configuration in our Office 365 licensing optimization guide .
Option #3: Office 365 E5 Approach
In this scenario, the organization would like to use Office 365 E5 as the base plan to license their users for voice.
- Phone System License
- Audio Conferencing
- Domestic: $12/user/month
- Domestic & International: $24/user/month
Total Cost per user = $50/user/month with the domestic Calling Plan.
The E5 subscription comes with additional benefits that should be evaluated before dismissing this as a viable option. Below is a summary of the features that come with E5 that do not come with E3 or E1.
- Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection : provides protection across Office 365 workloads including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and Teams.
- Power BI Pro: Unify data from many sources to create interactive, immersive dashboards and reports that provide actionable insights and drive business results.
- Advanced eDiscovery: provides an end-to-end workflow to preserve, collect, review, analyze, and export content that is responsive to your organization’s internal and external investigations.
Licensing Microsoft Teams with Microsoft 365 Enterprise Plans Instead of Office 365
With the Microsoft 365 bundles available today, the complexity does not increase greatly from the scenarios above. Below are the impacts for organizations needing to leverage the full voice capabilities of Microsoft Teams:
- Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3: Need to purchase the Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan Bundle for complete voice functionality
- Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5: Need to purchase the Calling Plan for complete voice functionality
Microsoft Direct Routing allows you to connect a supported, customer-provided Session Border Controller (SBC) to Microsoft Phone System. This architecture has several use cases, and below are a few examples that would lead a company to implement Direct Routing.
- Customer has a long-term SIP contract in place that company wishes to leverage instead of Microsoft Calling Plans
- Customer has found a more cost-effective SIP provider given a company’s calling trends and cost of Microsoft Calling Plans
- An organization needs call recording, which isn’t supported on Microsoft Teams without Direct Routing and a call recording solution implemented
- Configuring interoperability between customer-owned telephony equipment, such as 3 rd party PBX, analog devices, and Microsoft Phone System
- Customer needs to have Overhead Paging or Call Centers configured with the phone system
- Microsoft Calling Plans are not available in your Country
With Direct Routing, the customer can leverage a different SIP provider, and in this instance they would NOT need the Microsoft calling plan and could leverage their own SIP provider. They would still need the Microsoft Phone System plan (either $8/user/month as a standalone or included with E5).
Depending on their conferencing needs, they could leverage the SIP provider for the conference bridges or use the Audio Conferencing plan from Microsoft. Direct Routing customers certainly can leverage the Microsoft Calling Plans too if they did not want to use their own SIP provider. The Audio Conferencing licensing can be tricky with Direct Routing, and more information can be found here .
Common Area Phones and Meeting Rooms
There are two different licensing options for Teams devices that are not tied to a user, and they are the Common Area Phone License and the Meeting Room License. The features included in each are outlined below.
- Includes the Phone System Plan
- Still requires a calling plan for dialing out
- Includes the Teams application license, Phone System Plan, Audio Conferencing Plan, and Intune for device management
The Common Area Phone license is best suited for devices such as kitchen phones, copy room phones, warehouse phones, etc. The Meeting Room license is best suited for conference rooms where the room may initiate an ad-hoc meeting and need to leverage the collaborative features of Teams.
Communications Credits are a convenient way to pay for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plan minutes. I advise all clients to setup communication credits as they almost always are used in some fashion to ensure users have full functionality. A few use cases of Communication Credits are outlined below.
- Add toll-free numbers to use with Audio Conferencing meetings, auto attendants, or call queues. Toll-free calls are billed per minute and require a positive Communications Credits balance.
- Dialing out from an Audio Conference meeting to add someone else from anywhere in the world.
- Dialing out from an Audio Conference meeting to your mobile phone without the Microsoft Teams app installed and to destinations that aren’t already included in your subscription.
- Dial any international phone number when you have Domestic Calling Plan
- Dial international phone numbers beyond what is included in a Domestic and International Calling Plan
- Dial out and pay per minute once you have exhausted your monthly minute allotment.
Keep in mind, Communication Credits are NOT a replacement for a calling plan. They are intended for the use cases above in addition to providing calling plans to users.
If you would like to discuss the licensing options further, I would be happy to discuss what I know. Just shoot an email to [email protected] , and I’ll reach out to you directly.
Martin Feehan , Director of Client Relations
This blog was updated to reflect license price changes that Microsoft implemented on March 1, 2022.
Useful Resources for Further Reading
Compare Office 365 Enterprise Plans
Compare Exchange Online Plans
Microsoft Teams Add-On Licensing
What is Microsoft 365 Business Voice?
Calling Plans for Office 365
Microsoft Calling Plan Rates
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- Microsoft Teams Phone
Tightly integrated VoIP for Microsoft Teams, direct from the source
- Deep integration with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365
- Detailed call quality metrics with deep insight into the system
- Expanded range of local calling plans
- Calling plan still limited to 3,000 minutes (50 hours) per month
- Some administration tasks still require PowerShell scripting
Microsoft Teams Phone is the business voice-over-IP (VoIP) component of Redmond's all-encompassing team messaging suite, Microsoft Teams . We previously reviewed this voice calling add-on when it was known as Microsoft 365 Business Voice, but Microsoft has since moved its voice and video calling offerings for small businesses and enterprises under a single brand. Teams Phone remains a full-featured VoIP solution with excellent integrations with both Teams and Microsoft 365 , making it a no-brainer choice for dedicated Microsoft shops. However, Teams Phone lacks the advanced features found in Intermedia Unite and RingCentral MVP , our Editors' Choice picks for VoIP services.
Microsoft Teams Phone Pricing and Plans
The first thing to understand about Microsoft Teams Phone is that you must be a Microsoft Teams customer to use it. There's no standalone version that runs independently of the other Microsoft Teams components.
However, Teams Phone’s pricing isn’t out of line with the competing services we’ve reviewed. It currently costs $15 per user per month, plus the cost of any Microsoft 365 plan that includes Teams. At the entry level, you can purchase Microsoft 365 Business Basic at $5.00 per user per month, so your full cost for access to Teams Phone would be $20 per user per month. In addition to Teams, this tier gives each user access to web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
This service tier comes bundled with a Calling Plan that lets you make calls to numbers on the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The one drawback to Microsoft's approach is the number of minutes, which is fixed at 3,000 per month. That works out to 50 hours per month, although minutes are rolled up for the total user count. That should cover even the most talk-happy customers.
On the higher end, you can purchase Microsoft 365 E5 licenses for $57 per user per month, which includes Teams Phone, Windows 11 , and the full suite of Microsoft Office products. This enterprise-focused tier offers additional ways to connect to the PSTN. You can purchase Microsoft's Calling Plan, or you can also create direct connections to your local phone operator or to your on-premises phone system.
Deep Integration With Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams Phone works seamlessly within the Microsoft Teams environment to add VoIP softphone features to your communications suite. Once you've integrated the add-on, Teams users will see a Calls menu in the left-hand menu of the app that lets them place calls. It fully integrates with their Outlook contact list, too.
The Microsoft Teams mobile client for Android and iOS has the same features as the desktop client. We tested the Teams Phone apps on an Android phone and an iPad Pro. Both devices delivered the Teams Phone experience you would expect from a mobile platform in a consistent way. The key here is making it possible to continue your work communications in a BYOD scenario.
Teams Phone uses the concept of "channels" as a way for groups to hold meetings, conduct multi-party conversations, and collaborate on files. New is the ability to assign a call queue to a channel, which lets any channel member answer incoming calls to a team number.
Desktop Phone Dialing
Although Teams Phone is foremost a component of the broader Teams software suite, Microsoft has done a good job of making it usable with traditional desktop VoIP phones, too. It supports a wide variety of devices for personal and group communications.
For this review, Microsoft provided us with a Yealink WH67, which comes with an earpiece and a base that functions as a charging station and a speakerphone. Setup was quick, and it connected to our test Teams account with no issues.
The full-size desktop phone integrates tightly with Microsoft Teams displaying Calls, Calendar, People, and Voicemail tiles on the large color touchscreen display. Touching any of the tiles takes you to a new screen for further actions. The Calendar tile brings up your current calendar from your Microsoft 365 account, with daily events in a scrollable window on the left side and details about the selected event on the right.
Also from the traditional-calling department, Microsoft improved the breadth of its PSTN calling plans with local operators. Since we last tested the product, it has expanded the local calling plans to nearly twice the number of global markets as before. Just over a year ago, there were 18 markets; as of this review, there are 33 markets, with more in the works. This includes both standard PSTN functionality and operator-assisted calling.
Teams Phone Administration
The primary way to administer Teams Phone is through the standard Teams web UI. You can handle most normal administrative tasks, such as adding and removing users, from the extensive list of available functions.
You can also programmatically perform a number of administrative tasks using Microsoft PowerShell. This is useful for tasks involving a large number of user accounts, such as using policies to assign 25 users to a team all at once. However, doing so does take some programming and Microsoft administration savvy. Organizations that lack such expertise may be be frustrated to discover that there's no equivalent way to perform these tasks with the web UI.
In its favor, Teams Phone delivers deep insight into your call quality and overall usage with analytics and reports. In addition to basic usage reporting, the Call Quality Dashboard provides a comprehensive look at underlying metrics to determine how your system has been performing. In fact, these reports are the best of any product we’ve reviewed. The Quality Drill Down reports show overall audio quality and reliability as a monthly trend. A Failure Drill Down report breaks down call failures by media, drop, setup, and failed sessions to give an even more granular look at why failures occur.
Unfortunately, Microsoft Teams Phone only supports some call center features found in Dialpad and RingCentral MVP. For example, you can implement interactive voice response, but the service doesn't let callers hang up and get a call-back once an agent is available, rather than waiting on hold. Similarly, Microsoft Teams lacks call center supervisory features, such as call monitoring, the ability to break into a call, or deploying a virtual receptionist.
Be aware, however, that Teams Phone is not the only way to deploy a business VoIP experience on top of Microsoft Teams. Most of the other VoIP systems in this year's batch of reviews also offer prebuilt Teams integrations. There's no denying that getting both your business messaging tools and your VoIP service from a single vendor has its advantages, but this convenience shouldn't dissuade organizations with needs that aren't served by Teams Phone from investigating other options.
Microsoft Shops, Take Notice
If you're a dedicated Microsoft customer, the Teams Phone add-on has a lot to offer, especially if you're already using Microsoft 365 and Teams. We should reiterate, though, that this service doesn't quite match up to Dialpad or RingCentral MVP’s enterprise-class voice services when it comes to call center functionality. Teams Phone makes sense for companies currently using Microsoft Teams that are looking to add integrated voice in lieu of a separate phone contract.
As Microsoft Teams continues to improve—especially as it broadens the number of local operator partners—it may become even more difficult to choose something else, especially if basic voice calling is your primary requirement. If you're looking for a full suite of advanced features, consider Intermedia Unite , our Editors' Choice award winner for call reliability, and RingCentral MVP , which earns the Editors' Choice award for its high volume of calls. Even better, both services offer Teams integrations.
More Inside PCMag.com
- RingCentral MVP
- Intermedia Unite
- Vonage Business Communications
- Freshdesk Contact Center
- Ooma Office
About Paul Ferrill
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Plan your Teams voice solution
- 22 contributors
- Applies to: Microsoft Teams
This article helps you decide which Microsoft voice solution is right for your organization. After you've decided, the article provides a roadmap to content that will enable you to implement your chosen solution.
You might want the simplest solution—Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan. This option is Microsoft's all-in-the-cloud solution that provides Private Branch Exchange (PBX) functionality and calls to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), as shown in the following diagram. With this solution, Microsoft is your PSTN carrier.
If you answer yes to the following, then Teams Phone with Calling Plan is the right solution for you:
- Calling Plan is available in your region.
- You don't need to retain your current PSTN carrier.
- You want to use Microsoft-managed access to the PSTN.
If you’re a small to medium business (300 or fewer people), Microsoft now bundles Teams Phone with a Domestic Calling Plan.
However, your situation might be more complex. For example, you might have offices in locations where Calling Plan isn't available. Or you might need a combination solution that supports a complex, multi-national deployment, with different requirements for different geographic locations. Microsoft supports a combination of solutions:
- Teams Phone with Calling Plan
- Teams Phone with your own PSTN carrier with Operator Connect
- Teams Phone with your own PSTN mobile carrier with Teams Phone Mobile
- Teams Phone with your own PSTN carrier with Direct Routing
- A combination solution that uses Teams Phone with Calling Plan, Teams Phone with Operator Connect, and/or Teams Phone with Direct Routing
For a visual summary of all the voice solution options, see the voice solutions poster.
If you're interested in PSTN conferencing for meetings, you'll want to read about Microsoft's Audio Conferencing service and licensing requirements. Note that Audio Conferencing does not require a Teams Phone license. For more information, see Audio Conferencing .
What do you need to read?
Required for all. Some of the sections in this article pertain to all organizations. For example, everyone should read about Teams Phone and understand the options for connecting to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
Depending on your requirements. Some of the sections in this and related articles are pertinent depending on your existing deployment and requirements. For example, Location-Based Routing is only required for Direct Routing customers in geographic locations that do not allow toll bypass.
Consider which of these other configurations you might need:
Teams Phone is Microsoft's technology for enabling call control and Private Branch Exchange (PBX) capabilities in the Microsoft 365 cloud with Microsoft Teams.
Teams Phone works with Teams clients and certified devices. Teams Phone allows you to replace your existing PBX system with a set of features directly delivered from Microsoft 365.
Calls between users in your organization--regardless of geographical area--are handled internally within Teams Phone. These internal calls never go to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), so your company avoids long-distance charges.
This article introduces the following Teams Phone key features and functionality, and the deployment decisions you'll need to consider:
Auto attendants and Call queues
Cloud voicemail, calling identity.
For information about all Teams Phone features, and how to set up Teams Phone, see the following articles:
- Teams Phone features
- Set up Teams Phone in your organization Describes how to buy and assign Teams Phone licenses, manage phone numbers, and set up communication credits for toll-free numbers.
For information about managing supported devices, see Manage your devices in Microsoft Teams and Teams Marketplace .
Auto attendants allow you to set up menu options to route calls based on caller input. Call queues are waiting areas for callers. Used together, Auto attendants and Call queues can easily route callers to the appropriate person or department in your organization.
For information about Auto attendants and Call queues, see the following articles:
- Plan for Teams Auto attendants and Call queues
- Set up an Auto attendant
- Create a Call queue
- Contoso case study: Auto attendants and Call queues Describes how a fictional multi-national corporation, Contoso, implemented Auto attendants and Call queues for their voice solution.
Cloud Voicemail, powered by Azure Voicemail services, supports voicemail deposits to Exchange mailboxes only. It doesn't support third-party email systems.
Cloud Voicemail includes voicemail transcription, which is enabled for all users in your organization by default. Your business needs might require that you disable voicemail transcription for specific users or everyone throughout the organization.
Cloud Voicemail is automatically set up and provisioned for Teams users.
For more information about Cloud Voicemail and its configuration, see the following articles:
- Set up Cloud Voicemail
- Manage voicemail policies
By default, all outbound calls use the assigned phone number as calling identity (caller ID). The recipient of the call can quickly identify the caller and decide whether to accept or reject the call. For information about configuring caller ID or to change or block the caller ID, see Manage caller ID policies for users .
Public Switched Telephone Network connectivity options
Teams Phone provides complete PBX capabilities for your organization. However, to enable users to make calls outside your organization, you need to connect Teams Phone to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). To connect Teams Phone to the PSTN, you can choose one of the following options:
Teams Phone with Calling Plan . An all-in-the-cloud solution with Microsoft as your PSTN carrier.
Teams Phone with your own PSTN carrier by using Operator Connect . With Operator Connect, if your existing operator participates in the Microsoft Operator Connect program, they can manage the service for bringing PSTN calling to Teams.
Teams Phone with your own PSTN mobile carrier by using Teams Phone Mobile . With Teams Phone Mobile, if your existing operator participates in the Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile program, they can manage the service for using SIM-enabled mobile phone numbers with Teams.
Teams Phone with your own PSTN carrier by using Direct Routing to connect your on-premises environment to Teams.
You can choose a combination of options, which enables you to design a solution for a complex environment, or manage a multi-step migration. You'll read more about migration later.
Most Teams Phone features are the same regardless of the PSTN connectivity option you choose. There are some differences in functionality, however, that affect how you configure certain Teams Phone features, such as call routing and emergency calling. For more information about PSTN connectivity options and configuration considerations, see PSTN connectivity options .
Migrate your existing voice solution to Teams
For an organization that is upgrading to Teams, the ultimate goal is to move all users to TeamsOnly mode. Using Teams Phone is only supported when the user is in TeamsOnly mode. If you need basic information about upgrading to Teams, start here:
- Getting started with your Microsoft Teams upgrade
- About the upgrade framework
- Upgrade strategies for IT administrators
For guidance on planning a Teams voice solution as part as your overall plan to upgrade to Teams, see PSTN considerations for upgrading to Teams from Skype for Business on-premises .
For more information about how to implement your voice migration, see the Contoso voice migration case study . The case study describes how a fictional multi-national corporation, Contoso, implemented a Teams voice solution for their organization.
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Upgrade your Phone System with Microsoft Teams
Are you tired of your phone system and looking for options? Do you enjoy Microsoft Teams and wish your phone system was as robust as your collaboration software? Well now it can be with the Microsoft Teams Phone with Calling Plan SKU.
Already convinced? Click Here to Sign Up
So what is the Teams Calling Plan?
Microsoft Teams Calling Plans are a cloud-based offering that enables small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) to replace their traditional phone system. These plans extend the functionality of Microsoft Teams and enable users to make, receive, and transfer calls to and from the public switched telephone network (PSTN), which is what most of us simply refer to as traditional phone service.
Like standard phone systems, A Teams Calling Plan gives you the ability to set up toll numbers, toll-free numbers, and automated phone menu systems. You can even setup phone numbers for each of your employees.
Because it works with Microsoft Teams, you can turn any computer, phone, or tablet into a phone that uses your Team's number. You can respond to calls anytime and anywhere you have access to a device, which is critical for remote workers and field personnel. You can even keep your existing phone numbers by porting them over to the new plan. Your customers and prospects will only notice the change in your enhanced availability.
If you are unfamiliar with Teams, we encourage you to review our product page by clicking the link below.
How to get a Teams Calling Plan
To get a Microsoft Team's Calling Plan, your organization needs to have 300 or fewer employees. In addition, you need to have one of the following Microsoft 365 subscriptions:
Is your M365 subscription different than the ones listed above? We get it, Microsoft has many SKUs and it can be challenging to manage the nuances of your plan. Thankfully, as one of your cloud solution providers, Innovia Consulting can check your licensing to see if your Microsoft 365 subscription is compatible with a Teams Calling Plan. Our experts in licensing would love to help you see if your plan is Team's Calling Plan compatible.
Follow the link below to establish your relationship, if you haven't already.
Team's Calling Plan Pricing and Functionality
Your choice of Microsoft 365 plan will be the biggest influence on your total cost. Once you have it in place, the price to add a Calling Plan is highly competitive.
A Calling Plan is a $18/user/month bundle ($15 under NCE pricing) and includes:
- Phone System - With standard features such as voicemail, caller ID, call menus, shared phone lines, and emergency calling (You can see the full list here )
- 3000 Minutes of Domestic Calling
An International Calling add-on with 600 minutes/month can be added for an additional $12 per user.
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Phone System?
If you are ready to have a conversation about a Team's Calling Plan, reach out to your Innovia Customer Success Manager or fill out the form below.
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A cloud-based telephony solution that enables users to make and receive PSTN calls in Microsoft Teams. It includes a phone system and audio conferencing.
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8 Best Cheap Small Business Phone Services (2023)
If you’re short on time, my favorite overall picks are Nextiva and Grasshopper . Both services provide the core features you’d expect—at prices that are reasonable for small businesses.
Are you looking for an affordable small business phone service?
In this post, you’ll discover a summary of 8 of the top-rated VoIP phone services for business that we’ve tested.
You’ll learn how much they cost, what features they include, what makes them great, and what makes them not so great. Let’s dive in.
Best Overall Option: Nextiva
Nextiva is a giant in the VoIP industry.
If you’ve heard of it, you’re probably not surprised to see it making our top slot. Nextiva offers a high-end VoIP experience with a robust and reliable network, some great features, and a very affordable price to boot.
Nextiva was rated the #1 business phone service provider in 2022 by US News and World Report, and 94% of Nextiva customers said they were satisfied with their experience. Customer satisfaction rates like that are almost unheard of!
When looking through Nextiva’s options, you get the feeling that the company has thought of everything. Plans come with desktop and conference room phones, making it one of the few VoIP services that include hardware. We use Nextiva ourselves at Single Grain, and the whole system works seamlessly.
Plus, Nextiva has a whole suite of video conference tools, making it a fantastic all-around communication package.
Expert Review : In our testing, Nextiva is the best overall small business phone service when taking into consideration pricing, features, and ease-of-use. Try Nextiva for free today.
Best Freelancer and Solopreneur Option: Grasshopper
Not every business needs a desktop phone and dozens of extensions. Freelancers and solopreneurs sometimes need a business phone service just like any other company does, even if their needs are slightly different.
Grasshopper caters precisely to this demographic. Unlike many of the other services on this list, this company doesn’t focus on desktop phones. Instead, it provides a mobile app that makes it easier to run your business from your smartphone which, for many solopreneurs, also happens to be your personal phone.
For example, if you miss a call, you can have Grasshopper send an automatic text to follow up so that you don’t lose the client to someone else. Or, if you find yourself getting caught off guard picking up business calls when you’re in personal mode, you can ask Grasshopper to alert you when a call is business-related so you can move to a quiet area and prepare yourself to make a great impression.
Unfortunately, Grasshopper is a bit on the pricey side, especially considering that it doesn’t come with any hardware. Still, if you’re a solopreneur or freelancer, this is one business phone system that’s definitely worth looking into.
Related Content: 6 Best Cloud Hosted PBX Providers for 2023
8 Best Business Phone Services
Before we go any further, here’s a quick overview of our full list:
1 ) Nextiva
Out of all the providers we’ve looked at, Nextiva provides one of the most robust and reliable networks around and is a leader in the VoIP business phone space: They have connected over 1 billion calls , were rated the #1 business phone service in 2023 by US News and World Report , 94% of the businesses that have used Nextiva said they are satisfied with their service, and 90% of their customers say they’d recommend it to others.
So what makes Nextiva such a popular service? It offers enterprise business phone service at a very affordable price. Plus, it has great features, comes with the hardware you need, and has a very reliable network.
When you sign up with Nextiva, you’ll get:
- Desk phones
- Conference room phones
- Apps to manage your phone, text and email communications
- A mobile app
- CRM integrations like Salesforce and HubSpot
Nextiva offers three plans, the price of which depends on the number of users and the features provided. Here are the plans and some of their features:
- Starts at $21.95/user/month (discounts available for annual subscriptions)
- Unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada
- 1,000 toll-free minutes
- Unlimited audio conferencing for up to 4 participants
- Google and Outlook integrations
- Starts at $24.95/user/month (discounts available for annual subscriptions)
- Unlimited business SMS
- 2,500 toll-free minutes
- Unlimited audio conference calls for up to 40 participants
- Unlimited video conferencing
- Team messaging
- Call recording
- Starts at $31.95/user/month (discounts available for annual subscriptions)
- 10,000 toll-free minutes
- Unlimited audio conference calls with unlimited participants
- Audio and video screen sharing
- Zendesk, HubSpot, Salesforce, and ServiceNow integrations
- Voicemail transcriptions
Each of these plans builds on the last, so if something is in the Essential plan, it will also be included in the Professional.
Learn more about Nextiva right here.
RingCentral is no small fry in the VoIP space. Touting over 2 million users , it’s clear that the company is doing something right.
While there’s a lot to like about RingCentral, one of its best points is that it has quite a few different plans available. Simply put, that means that users have options and won’t be pigeonholed into having to decide between plans that have either far too much or far too little. Plus, plans can be customized to include additional features like vanity business phone numbers and international toll-free calling à la carte .
RingCentral offers four different plans, each building on the former:
- Starts at $19.99/user/month
- Maximum of 20 users
- Provides 100 toll-free minutes/month
- Unlimited domestic calls (U.S. and Canada)
- Starts at $24.99/user/month
- No users maximum
- Provides 1,000 toll-free minutes/month
- Unlimited audio and video meetings (maximum of 4 video participants)
- Unlimited internet fax
- On-demand call recording
- Starts at $34.99/user/month
- No user maximum
- Provides 2,500 toll-free minutes/month
- Video conference participant limit increased to 100
- Integrates with Salesforce and ZenDesk
- Automatic call recording
- Starts at $49.99/user/month
- Provides 10,000 toll-free minutes/month
- Video conference participant limit increase to 200
And no matter which plan you choose, you’ll have access to some features like:
- Unlimited SMS
- iOS and Android apps
- 24/7 customer support
- Call log reports
For most users, the deciding factors will be the number of toll-free minutes you get each month and how many people you can have on video calls at the same time. If you’re planning to use your VoIP very rarely, the Essentials plan should serve you well. But if you’re looking to use RingCentral for enterprise applications, you’ll need to go with one of the higher plans.
Overall, RingCentral provides a reliable VoIP service that can be tailored to each business’s needs.
If you watched TV at all during the early 2000s, then Vonage may stir up some feelings of nostalgia for you. Back then, they were perhaps the best-known internet phone provider, thanks to its quirky commercials .
But although the company was focused on residential VoIP phone systems in its heyday, they have since pivoted to concentrate on the more lucrative business phone market. Vonage offers several products for businesses: communications APIs, unified communications , and solutions for contact centers .
Vonage has three different plans, each of which has different prices depending on the number of lines you choose:
- Only allows calls to and from mobile devices and laptops or desktop computers
- Designed for remote team members and businesses that don’t require desk phones
- 1-4 lines: $19.99/month/line
- 5-19 lines: $17.99/month/line
- 20+ lines: $14.99/month/line
- Allows calls from all types of devices, including traditional phones
- Designed for businesses with traditional office environments
- 1-4 lines: $29.99/month/line
- 5-19 lines: $27.99/month/line
- 20+ lines: $24.99/month/line
- Includes additional calling features like visual voicemail and call groups
- Provides a dedicated team for set up and onboarding
- 1-4 lines: $39.99/month/line
- 5-19 lines: $37.99/month/line
- 20+ lines: $34.99/month/line
But Vonage’s plans are much more flexible than this list would have you believe. They offer a smorgasbord of add-on features to choose from, including visual voicemail, call recording and toll-free numbers.
Plus, they make it easy to purchase the hardware you need by providing you with a large selection of phones that have been tested for compatibility with Vonage. However, if you already have the hardware in place, they will work with you to make sure you can get your current setup working with their service.
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1-VoIP is the most flexible VoIP service on this list, and it’s pretty cheap to boot, with a starting price of $14.97/extension/month.
Unlike many of the other providers on this list, 1-VoIP offers a “pay as you go” or “metered” option for phone service. Instead of paying a flat monthly fee for more minutes, you can opt to pay $0.02/minute in addition to the base $14.97/extension/month price. This works out pretty well as long as you keep your usage to 200 minutes per month or less (after this point, you’d do better upgrading to a higher plan).
1-VoIP offers three different plans:
- Starts at $14.97/extension/month
- Pay for what you use at a rate of $0.02/minute
- Starts at $19.97/extension/month
- Better deal if you use more than 200 minutes per month
- Starts at $24.97/extension/month
- Includes hardware costs
No matter which you choose, every 1-VoIP plan comes with the same standard features. And that’s great considering there are over 40 of them. They include:
- Configurable caller ID
- Digital queues
- Custom hold music
Unfortunately, 1-VoIP doesn’t have a mobile app, but you can use ZoiPer Softphone (a third-party app) to get all the same features (picking up and making calls, etc.) that you would have if 1-VoIP did have a mobile app.
Overall, 1-VoIP is a very good choice for businesses that need flexibility or aren’t sure how much they’ll be using their phone. According to its site, they have some of the highest customer ratings in the VoIP space, so if they’re to be believed, that’s a very good sign that you’ll likely have a good experience with their service.
5) GoToConnect (formerly Jive)
GoToConnect is a new offering that combines GoToMeeting’s audio and video conferencing capabilities with Jive’s VoIP phone service. The result is a one-stop communication package that provides everything most businesses will need to communicate effectively. It’s also entirely cloud-based, which may make it easier to maintain your hardware.
Overall, GoToConnect strives to be all-inclusive. Unlike other providers that price their services based on the features you select, GoToConnect bases its pricing entirely on how many users you’ll have. GoToConnect’s prices are:
- 1-4 users: $29.95/user/month
- 5-9 users: $25.95/user/month
- 10-24 users: $23.95/user/month
- 25-49 users: $21.95/user/month
- 50+ users: $19.95/user/month
As you can see, the more users you add, the less you’ll pay.
And GoToConnect offers all the same features regardless of how many users you have. There are over 80 features, so there’s no doubt that this is one of the most complete packages on the market.
Some of GoToConnect’s features include:
- Call routing
- International calling
- Wait time announcements
GoToConnect also stands out from the competition by offering features that are specifically designed for call centers, such as pre-call announcements, wait time announcements and unlimited call queues. It’s one of the only companies that seems to be making an active effort to appeal to the needs of contact centers.
Overall, GoToConnect provides a high-end business phone experience. Compared to other services we’ve covered, it’s a bit on the pricey side, with a starting price that’s double 1-VoIP’s lowest-cost option, for example. That said, if you need a service that’s jam-packed with features, GoToConnect is definitely worth a look.
Unlike some of the other options on this list, Grasshopper is a pretty small company with a fairly modest offering. Whereas RingCentral has over 2 million users, Grasshopper has served just 350,000 “happy customers.” However, a small user base can sometimes be a plus: With fewer users, the company can dedicate more time and effort toward each individual.
Most of the options we’ve looked at so far are geared towards traditional office setups with desk phones. However, Grasshopper is a better fit for freelancers, solopreneurs and small teams who are planning to use their cell phone to conduct business. Its main clientele is people who want a separation between their personal and business phones, but still want to use their mobile phone.
For example, real estate agents might want to give out their Grasshopper phone number to clients so that they can be easily reached without having to give out their personal number or carry around two phones all the time. It also alerts you when an incoming call is business-related so that you don’t get caught unprepared when you pick up the phone expecting a personal call and quickly realize that it’s a potential client.
Grasshopper offers two services: Grasshopper and Grasshopper Connect. The main difference between the two is that Grasshopper Connect doesn’t just unify your business phone service; it also lets you view calls, texts and emails from one place.
Unfortunately, Grasshopper doesn’t come cheap. With a starting price of $26/month, it’s definitely a bit on the pricey side, especially considering that they don’t offer any hardware. Grasshopper’s pricing is as follows:
- Solo: 1 number, 3 extensions, starting at $26/month
- Partner: 3 numbers, 6 extensions, starting at $44/month
- Small Business: 5 numbers, unlimited extensions, starting at $80/month
Keep in mind that with any plan you’ll be treated to some innovative and advanced features, like auto-texting, which can automatically send a text to any missed calls to try to prevent them from taking their business elsewhere. Overall, a great business phone system for solopreneurs, freelancers and small businesses.
Ooma is a well-established VoIP provider with a long track record of customer satisfaction. For the past seven years, PC Magazine voted Ooma the number one business VoIP , and that should be enough to make anyone give it some careful consideration when looking for the best phone service for their business.
Ooma Office is an enterprise phone system for small businesses and includes “big business features at small business pricing ” — and they’re not lying. Ooma includes:
- Extension dialing
- Virtual receptionists
- The ability to keep your old number
- The ability to use the Ooma mobile to make and receive calls
For all this, Ooma charges $19.99/user/month. This fee stays the same no matter how many users you have, which keeps the pricing simple and free of unwelcome surprises as you grow your business.
All this sounds a bit too good to be true and, unfortunately, it is: Ooma doesn’t include the cost of hardware in its standard pricing. When you figure that in, Ooma doesn’t end up being as cheap as it seems. For example, its Business Phone Starter Pack costs $99.99 and comes with one Ooma base station and two wireless extensions, which are compatible with existing analog phones. Other packages that include actual phones are more in the $200 range.
That said, it is possible to use Ooma exclusively with the mobile app, which would eliminate the need for hardware. However, if that’s what you’re looking for, you may be able to find better and cheaper options for your needs.
Assuming you do go all in with Ooma, you’ll be happy to know that they provide superb customer service. Plus, they are known for having an easy set-up process, so between the ease of use and the helpline, you should be sailing smoothly after the initial financial investment.
Phone.com differentiates itself in three ways:
- It’s HIPAA and HITECH compliant, so it’s a natural choice for medical professionals and businesses
- It’s the only service on this list that’s capable of dialing 911
With plans starting at just $9.99/month, Phone.com is the cheapest VoIP phone service you’ll find. It also provides a good deal of flexibility with its pay-per-minute options.
Phone.com divides its pricing into two subgroups: pay-per-minute plans and unlimited plans.
The pay-per-minute plans have the following prices and features:
- $12.99/month ($9.99/month if paid annually)
- 300 minutes/month
- 1 local or toll-free number
- 5,000 SMS messages
- Over 40 features, including call queuing and voicemail to email
- $19.99/month ($14.99/month if paid annually)
- 500 minutes/month
- 2 local numbers or toll-free numbers
- 10,000 SMS messages
- Additional features like premium hold music and automated voicemail-to-text
- $39.99/month ($29.99/month if paid annually)
- 1,000 minutes/month
- 3 local or toll-free numbers
- 20,000 SMS messages
- Additional features like call analytics and 300 call recording minutes
The unlimited plans all have unlimited monthly minutes and unlimited user extensions:
- $29.99/extension/month ($24.99/extension/month if paid annually)
- Call forwarding
- $37.99/extension/month ($32.99/extension/month if paid annually)
- 2 local or toll-free numbers
- Premium hold music
- $59.99/extension/month ($49.99/extension/month)
- Call analytics
Despite their differences, all of these plans come with the same set of base features, such as:
- Audio conferencing
- Dial-by-name directory
- Auto attendant
As a whole, Phone.com is best viewed as a very good budget option. A good portion of the testimonials on its site mention that Phone.com is more reasonably priced than other comparable services and, luckily, they don’t seem to sacrifice any call quality to reach this low price point. Instead, it simply gives users a variety of options to choose from so that they won’t have to pay for more than they need.
- Best Small Business Phone Systems of 2023
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- 7 Tested Ways to Use Texting for Your Small Business
How to Evaluate VoIP Business Phone Services on Your Own
In this guide, we’ve looked at eight of the best VoIP business phone services, but this list is by no means exhaustive. So if none of these options quite fits the bill, how do you go about evaluating other phone system offerings?
You can start by asking yourself these questions:
✔️ How large is my business?
Business phone systems often design their offerings with a certain type of business in mind, be it a solopreneur, small business or an enterprise. While many services offer different plans for different business sizes, some services are simply better equipped for one type.
When looking into VoIP providers, evaluate how their services might fit into your business. Does it provide enough extensions? Is the number of minutes sufficient for your needs?
✔️ How much phone time do you anticipate?
Business phone services tend to price their plans partially around the number of minutes provided. If you and your employees are constantly picking up the phone, then you’ll likely need a provider that offers unlimited plans. But if making calls is a rarity, you may want to go with a metered or pay-per-minute option.
✔️ What’s my budget?
It should come as no surprise that staying within budget is essential. Some providers are simply priced more competitively than others, so you’ll have to consider how that fits into the bigger picture. For example, can you afford more features? Or will you be better off with fewer features but a lower price tag?
✔️ What features are absolutely essential?
Every business has its own unique needs to consider. Some businesses will require phone services that have desktop apps, while others will fare just fine with a mobile app. Make a list of the reasons that you need a business phone service in the first place, and score each option on how well it meets those needs.
As with most decisions, there is no one-size-fits-all phone solution. Business phone services come in many different shapes and sizes, so you’ll need to find the one that fits best into your larger business strategy.
Despite the rise of text messaging and email in business communications, nothing really beats the ease of being able to simply dial up a colleague or client, make a personal connection, and talk things out.
Although video conferencing is gaining popularity, it’s often viewed as more intrusive than phone calls. In fact, landline phone calls are still the go-to method:
A recent BrightLocal survey found that 60% of consumers prefer to contact businesses by phone.
Today, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services offer a low-cost and high-tech alternative to traditional public switched telephone network (PTSN) solutions. In short, VoIP services push your voice through and internet connection instead of a traditional phone line.
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