Blog co-authored with Tom Arbuthnot, Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master, Founder and Principal at Empowering.Cloud
Whoever came up with the concept of “one size fits all” originally, likely wasn’t responsible for planning calling and connectivity for a multi-national organization with remote offices, on-the-go salespeople, and front-line workers.
Organizations often have a variety of connectivity needs depending on their geographic footprint and unique business requirements – which can complicate the decision-making process. Some scenarios may be 100% cloud-based, while others may require an on-premises setup with connectivity to legacy hardware, and others require mobility or speedy deployment. Organizations may also want to port numbers or work with their existing connectivity provider.
Fortunately, Teams Phone provides the flexibility to deploy and manage different PSTN connectivity types to different users in your organization, optimizing for specific calling scenarios and requirements.
More ways to communicate with Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams allows users to make and receive VoIP voice and video calls with federated Teams users across PCs, desktop phones, and mobile devices. This alone is a game changer for organizations who are now able to communicate more quickly and efficiently and avoid long-distance costs on internal VoIP calls. Furthermore, Teams Phone allows you to make Teams your UCaaS solution, enabling PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) connectivity, and adding advanced call control features such as auto attendants, call queues, music on hold, call forwarding and more.
Four options for enabling PSTN calling with Teams Phone:
Enable PSTN calling for your organization with any of the following methods OR a combination of these approaches:
Microsoft Teams Calling Plans – Setup is fast and easy for this all-in-the-cloud calling solution with Microsoft as your PSTN carrier. Teams Calling Plans are a great choice when:
- Getting started quickly is a priority.
- Simplified management that comes with all-in-one solution is important
- There is not any existing on premises PSTN infrastructure (SBC or voice trunks) to interconnect with
- Callers are located in one of the 34 markets where Teams Calling Plans are available
Operator Connect – Easily bring operator-managed PSTN calling to Teams through a participating carrier. Operator Connect is designed for organizations that:
- Want to maintain an existing operator contract for fixed line numbers or wish to select a new carrier from a list of Operator Connect partners
- Seek a fully managed solution – PSTN calling services and infrastructure are completely managed by the operator along with Microsoft
- Have users in locations where Teams Calling Plans are not yet available
- Need a fast and easy deployment – simply connect to your operator and assign phone numbers to users, all from the Teams admin center
Teams Phone Mobile – Assign a single business-provided cell phone number as your desktop, mobile and Teams Phone number. Teams Phone mobile enables organizations to:
- Enable improved mobility for hybrid and mobile workers, through a single, business-provided number for Teams and mobile calling
- Eliminate costs associated with fixed line service for these users
- Apply security, compliance, and policy settings across mobile devices
- Quickly and easily deploy, configure, and manage calling for Teams
- Inherit all the benefits of Operator Connect for employees with business provided mobile numbers (e.g. leverage your preferred wireless operator contracts and mobile numbers)
Direct Routing – This highly customizable approach allows you to maintain your existing PSTN carrier and telephony investments by connecting your Session Border Controller(s) (SBC) to Phone System. Direct routing is suited for organizations that:
- Require connectivity in countries not covered by Teams Calling Plans, Operator Connect, or Teams Phone Mobile providers
- Are subject to regulatory, compliance, or survivability requirements that dictate on-premises connectivity
- Have an existing operator agreement they wish or need to maintain
- Require connectivity in countries not covered by Microsoft Calling Plans, Operator Connect, or Teams Phone Mobile providers
Download the Teams Phone PSTN guidance to understand which calling solutions may be right for you.
Understanding your requirements and use cases
Choosing the right PSTN connectivity solution for your organization may seem overwhelming, but we encourage starting with these steps:
- Document your country/user/office locations, user counts, and their phone requirements
- Understand whether there are existing service agreements or hardware that need to be maintained
- Understand if there are regulatory or compliance requirements governing specific users or countries
- Document each of the use cases within your organization and decide which PSTN connectivity solution would be best for each scenario. It may be that one solution fits all scenarios or you may need to find a combination of solutions for your organization
Regardless of the PSTN calling solution – or solutions – you choose for Teams Phone, we’ve got the planning and deployment resources to help ensure your success. The Teams Phone setup guide (requires admin access) is available to guide you through every step of the deployment. Microsoft engineers and FastTrack Ready partners are also available to assist FastTrack eligible customers* with deployment of Teams Phone through FastTrack for Microsoft Teams.
* When you purchase 150 or more seats of an eligible subscription, FastTrack will help with core and advanced Teams onboarding. Learn more about FastTrack for Microsoft Teams here.