Microsoft Teams Certification Program
The Microsoft Teams Certification Program aims to benchmark a higher standard for user experience when conducting business calls on the Teams platform with a VoIP desk phone, to which manufacturers must comply. This aims at providing a guaranteed high-quality experience for users when they use a certified Teams compatible desk phone.
In addition to high-quality calls, there are other benefits to using Teams certified hardware:
- Native Teams experience on third-party hardware phones including Teams branding, colours and icons with hardware button integration and LED notifications.
- Microsoft Outlook calendar integration and one-touch meeting access.
- Phone hardware deployed and managed via Teams Admin Center with Intune integration.
Aside from the native Teams experience when using a Teams phone’s touchscreen interface, the question this should leave users with is, why does Teams need specialised devices in order to achieve high-quality calls when other providers of unified communications solutions and VoIP services do not?
With Which Brands and Models of VoIP Phones is Microsoft Teams Compatible?
Microsoft reports that it is actively working with Yealink, Crestron, Lenovo, Polycom and Audiocodes to develop a range of VoIP phones specifically built to deliver the best Teams experience possible. The implication here is that these phones are not suitable for, and cannot be used with, SIP/VoIP platforms other than Microsoft Teams.
A full list of ‘Teams phones’, specifically designed with the Teams experience in mind, can be found here.
Since it is also available as an app, you don’t actually have to use a VoIP desk phone at all. If you prefer to take your calls the traditional way, though, you’ll be more restricted with Microsoft Teams than you might be otherwise, since devices that are not listed at the above link cannot be used with Microsoft Teams.
For example, while, Yealink’s T55, 56 and 58 series phones are all purpose-built for a true Microsoft Teams experience, making navigation more intuitive for staff already familiar with the layout of the Teams web, mobile or desktop app, their popular, feature-rich but cost-effective Yealink T41S cannot be used. Other popular brands, which might produce VoIP hardware that’s very capable at a lower price, aren’t represented at all. Grandstream phones, for example, are an excellent choice for SMBs that need IP desk phones for all their staff that can deliver on essential features without exhausting their entire budget, but Grandstream phones aren’t compatible with Microsoft Teams.
Indeed, the cheapest phone compatible with Teams listed under Microsoft’s ‘currently certified Teams phones’ is the Audio Codes C448HD, which retails (at time of writing) for around £130(GBP), whilst most Teams compatible phones are closer to the £200(GBP) mark or even higher. Compare this with phones like Grandstream’s GXP1625, which supports 2 lines (or SIP users), can be powered by PoE, has an LCD screen for easy navigation and retails at under £50.00(GBP). Microsoft Teams, already an expensive unified communications solution for many businesses, manages to put itself even further out of reach for many SMBs.
Moreover, users of Microsoft Teams won’t be able to use any of the best VoIP desk phones listed in this article and will instead be forced to pay a premium for phones with functionality they might be able to find for half the price.
Microsoft Teams Device Restrictions
Some VoIP and UCaaS providers, including Microsoft Teams, offer services that are compatible with only a limited number of VoIP phone makes and models, resulting in a smaller set of usable devices for the end-user.
Given the discrepancies between different makes and models of VoIP phone, VoIP providers aim to guarantee a stable and consistent service, no matter the device their users choose, by restricting the number of compatible devices. Unfortunately, this precludes the use of many perfectly capable and often more cost-effective models of VoIP phone, meaning the consumer suffers.
Yay.com offers a VoIP service with no restrictions on the make or model of VoIP phone you choose to use. If you’d like to use such a service, either on its own or in conjunction with Teams and Microsoft’s Phone System via Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams, you start by comparing our voice plans, or contact us directly with your questions about our Direct Routing solution.