Delivering the right Teams calling option for your customers

When connecting voice to Teams there are a few options to choose from. Each option has its own nuances and capabilities, so deciding which option is the right one to deliver to your customers is sometimes tricky.

As it stands the three main ways of bringing voice calling to Teams include:

  1. Microsoft Calling Plans – Where the end customer is served their calling plan and minutes by Microsoft directly
  2. Direct Routing – The most popular way of enabling voice, which utilizes SBC technology to connect the end customer’s existing voice services.
  3. Operator Connect – A Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) service which allows for end customers to choose their Carrier from a pre-approved marketplace which is located directly in the Teams Admin Center.

So what is the right option for each customer? What are the pros and cons of Microsoft Calling Plans, Direct Routing and Operator Connect?

The pros and cons of Microsoft Calling Plans

With their set per-user, per-month pricing structure and the fact that they can be bundled with O365 licenses, Microsoft Calling Plans are effective for small businesses. They can, however, quickly become less efficient when businesses grow, fluctuate in staff numbers or have complex calling needs.

Who are Microsoft Calling Plans for?

Microsoft Calling Plans best suited to small and medium sized businesses based in a single geography

The pros

  • Cost effective for smaller organizations with stable staff numbers
  • Good for companies with single geographies
  • A straight forward solution for organizations with simple telephony needs

The cons

  • Not cost effective for medium-large businesses
  • Not suitable for companies with multiple geographies
  • Not available globally
  • Not suitable for diverse or complex telephony i.e call-center, office and remote staff
  • Moving over to a Microsoft Calling Plan is disruptive to BAU

The pros and cons of Operator Connect

Operator Connect is the newest way of connecting voice to Teams. Operator Connect was created by Microsoft so that they could better ensure a quality calling experience that users expect from such a widely used platform. With Operator Connect admins can choose from a list of 60+ pre-approved Carriers and easily deploy cloud telephony. Operator Connect uses a Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) methodology where end customers can make calls in Teams using their existing provider, as long as their Carrier is one of the pre-approved Carriers.

Who is Operator Connect for?

Operator Connect can fit in with a lot of end-customer’s voice visions. Because they are able to simply keep using their existing provider, this makes it an easy fit for most businesses. Operator Connect can be a good option for multi-nationals who want to integrate with Teams but are outside of Microsoft calling plan geographies.

The pros

  • The ability to bring an existing Carrier and keep existing plans/minutes
  • No technical expertise needed
  • Self service
  • Automated provisioning
  • Extensive number management
  • E911 as standard

The cons

  • The end-customer can only choose from the list of pre-approved carriers
  • May not be suitable for larger businesses who have complex requirements, with Operator Connect it is one size fits all
  • Not as flexible as Direct Routing
  • For use with Trunks service only
  • Teams Phone license required

The pros and cons of Direct Routing

As the most popular form of connecting voice to Teams, there are a couple of ways in which Direct Routing can be deployed and they too have their pros and cons. Those options are either a self-build or Direct Routing as a Service (DRaaS). A self-build is complex. To deploy Direct Routing the appropriate infrastructure and SBC connections must be built and PowerShell expertise is crucial. With DRaaS this is all done for you and the end customer and bundled into a subscription package.

Who is Direct Routing for?

Direct Routing is far more inclusive when it comes to end-customer usage. It can be effectively utilized by companies of most sizes and geographies. It can also be tailored to usage and a variety of frameworks.

The pros

  • Keep existing telephony hardware
  • Keep existing numbers and plans
  • No porting or changing numbers
  • Relatively low costs
  • Flexible to the end-customer’s needs

The cons

  • A self-built Direct Routing solution can be complex and costly to set up and a logistical minefield
  • With DRaaS you do not own the solution so you have to be careful to pick one that is tailored to your needs.
  • You still need to pay for Microsoft licensing in some cases….Read on to learn more.

Direct Routing and Microsoft Licensing

One of the things that limits Operator Connect or Direct Routing adoption is that they both require a Teams Phone license on top of the other costs involved in either a self build or a Direct Routing service subscription.

Read here about what Microsoft license is required to activate calling

This is why we have developed Call2Teams Go, which eliminates the need for any extra Microsoft licenses for PBX users. With Call2Teams Go end-customers will be able to achieve an ~80% cost saving compared to a standard Teams Phone license.

For the end customer, Call2Teams Go provides a voice enabler that leverages the power of Teams and ensures a quality outbound calling experience to PSTN whilst eliminating the need for that extra license cost.

Call2Teams Go is a native solution that allows Service Providers to elevate their proposition, and expand their addressable markets to include cost sensitive audiences who may have previously been priced out of voice integration.

For the Service Provider Call2Teams Go can be rolled out in three different ways to match your go-to-market needs:

  1. As an out of the box solution
  2. As a solution where you can add your own functionality with Call2Teams Go as the backbone of your offering
  3. As a tech stack that allows partners to utilize aspects of Call2Teams Go to boost your own platform

Whichever solution your customers choose to get calling in Teams, we are here to help you make the most of the rise of Microsoft Teams. With our Call2Teams and Carrier Automate products, we can help you secure your voice business. Helping you to develop a with Teams strategy that helps you to grow your business.