What Is Microsoft Business Voice?
Microsoft Business Voice is a package license bundling Microsoft Phone System, Audio Conferencing and a calling plan together. Up until recently, the Business Voice bundle was only available to Microsoft 365 Business licenses. Now, Microsoft Business Voice is also available to those with Office 365 or Microsoft 365 Enterprise licenses, simplifying the process of adding Phone System functionality to Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Phone System bestows the capabilities you need to conduct phone calls with external phone numbers using Microsoft Teams, including auto attendants, call queues and call forwarding. Audio Conferencing allows you to conduct conference calls with your colleagues and partners, again through Teams. You’ll need a calling plan to lease a certain number of domestic or international minutes to your users.
Can Microsoft 365 Business Voice Be Purchased Without a Calling Plan?
It is now possible to purchase Microsoft 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 will require Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Business Voice can still be purchased with an included calling plan by purchasing directly 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 calling plan included with Microsoft Business Voice offers 1200 domestic minutes per month in the UK (3000 domestic minutes per month in the US and Canada). For an extra charge, you can opt for an International Calling Plan to pay for a certain number of international call minutes upfront. Alternatively, you can pay for International call charges on a pay-as-you-go basis with Microsoft’s Communications Credits, which essentially act as paid call credit on your account that gets pulled from as and when necessary.
1200 minutes for domestic calls, with no more inclusive calling plans available, leaves Teams users that need more minutes than this having to resort to pay-as-you-go Communications Credits - not a cost-effective option. Sales teams and other outfits doing a lot of outbound calling will find themselves tearing through these minutes in no time, leaving themselves with a hefty bill at the end of each month on top of what they’re already paying. Such businesses would be better off using an unlimited calling plan from a third-party provider and using that provider’s service in conjunction with Microsoft Teams.
Third-Party Calling Plans
If you purchase Microsoft Business Voice through a Microsoft partner or reseller, you’ll have the option of purchasing without one of Microsoft’s calling plans, giving you the freedom to use a calling plan from one of these partners or resellers. These partners and resellers must themselves offer a Direct Routing service for Microsoft Teams in order to integrate the two services.
Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams
Since a calling plan is needed to have an operational phone system, purchasing Business Voice without a calling plan requires that you source one from a third-party provider.
This requires the configuration of 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 one such partner offering more cost-effective calling plans and more powerful VoIP phone system features through our Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams Integration. If you’re enjoying the Microsoft Teams user experience but need a cost-effective calling plan with unlimited calls to the UK and 54 other countries, consider Yay.com.