Microsoft Teams Licensing Notes [Update July 2019]

There are many options for licensing Microsoft Teams depending on the capability requirements for users, devices and rooms. In this post I like to point out some “special” licensing options besides the normal ones for Teams in enterprises.

The hereinafter described license options might be subject to change. Moreover not all licenses or subscriptions are available in every country around the globe, especially calling plans and audio conferencing (shortened: Audioconf.).

Teams Licensing Basics

  • Microsoft Teams is just a single service of the massiv Microsoft 365 services stack which it tightly linked and integrated within this service stack.
  • Microsoft Teams is part of a “packaged” Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions by default.
  • Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business (Online). The Skype for Business Desktop Client within Office 365 ProPlus is also obsolete, meaning that new (full) Office 365 ProPlus installation will get a Teams instead of a Skype for Business Client.

The following slides and drawing are intended to provide you with an overview on licensing options. I also point out what you should take into account in case of Teams Direct Routing (TDR), in this post and following drawings I call a TDR scenario a “hybrid” scenario.

Telephony with Teams (for users)

Overview (May 2019)

Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

Resource accounts for CQ/AA need a license. Till 01.07.2019 you had to license these users with typical user licenses. Now you can buy and assign a free “Phone System Virtual User license”.

UPDATED JULY 2019 Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

At the bottom I’ll add a link to a well-written how-to post “Add a free licence to Call Queues and Auto Attendants (Microsoft Teams)” from ucgeek.com which describes how to buy and assign the license.

Teams Common Area Phone (CAP)

Teams Common Area Phone

Teams Meeting Room

Teams Meeting Room

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The above drawings quickly depict how you can license users, common area phones, meeting room devices and even call queues or auto attendants for Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft is working on an enhanced licensing model for applications like cloud CQ/AA [as you can read in “Manage resource accounts”]. Still, at present user licensing applies for cloud CQ/AA. [done]

Additional Resources

Manage Group Calling and Call Delegation in Microsoft Teams (as Admin)

In this post I like to describe how you can manage group calling and call delegation in Microsoft Teams as admin.

First of all, I’d like to explain what these two features can do for you or your users:

Group call pickup allows a Teams (phone system) user to select other Teams users to answer his/her call. E.g. Erik Doe get’s a call on his Teams phone number and his other co-workers which he added previously to his group pickup get a notification about the incoming call and can answer it instead.

Call delegation allows to configure delegation for your telephony, similar to what you might know for mail delegation. I.e. this enables you for typical and lightweight boss/admin or manager/assistant or chef/sek (de) capabilities. E.g. Erik Doe can add one ore more other Team (phone system) user as delegates so that Erik Doe does not need to deal with all calls himself.

Configure group call pickup as an user

Users can configure this on the Teams settings \ call settings page.

Configure group call pickup as an admin

In the Teams Admin Center you can configure group call pickup per user. You can add/remove users to a users group call pickup, you can set the notification mode (mute, ring, banner) and you can configure the order and when group call pickup to listed users in a users group kicks in.

Teams Admin Center \ Users \ <user> \ Voice \ Group call pickup

Configure call delegation (boss/admin, manager/assistant, chef/sek) as an user

Users can configure this on the Teams settings \ general \ delegation settings page.

Configure call delegation (boss/admin, manager/assistant, chef/sek) as an admin

Also in the Teams Admin Center you can configure call delegation per user. You can add/remove delegates, you can define what permissions a delegate gets and if a delegate can change this setting (or need to call you to change it via Teams Admin Center).

Teams Admin Center \ Users \ <user> \ Voice \ Call delegation
Teams Admin Center \ Users \ \ Voice \ Call delegation \ permissions

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Compare to Skype for Business (Server) this is a very nice administration capability because it’s easy to access and manage. In the past with Skype for Business (Server) you had to use Sefautil, related Sefautil tools or even third party software for an more comfortable way of administrate user call settings. It’s very helpful from time to time to have a ability as admin to change these two settings for an user which might be unable to do this.

Managing Teams Call delegation and group call pickup via the Teams Admin Center works like a charm in my opinion.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Licensing Notes

There are many options for licensing Microsoft Teams depending on the capability requirements for users, devices and rooms. In this post I like to point out some “special” licensing options besides the normal ones for Teams in enterprises.

The hereinafter described license options might be subject to change. Moreover not all licenses or subscriptions are available in every country around the globe, especially calling plans and audio conferencing (shortened: Audioconf.).

Teams Licensing Basics

  • Microsoft Teams is just a single service of the massiv Microsoft 365 services stack which it tightly linked and integrated within this service stack.
  • Microsoft Teams is part of a “packaged” Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions by default.
  • Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business (Online). The Skype for Business Desktop Client within Office 365 ProPlus is also obsolete, meaning that new (full) Office 365 ProPlus installation will get a Teams instead of a Skype for Business Client.

The following slides and drawing are intended to provide you with an overview on licensing options. I also point out what you should take into account in case of Teams Direct Routing (TDR), in this post and following drawings I call a TDR scenario a “hybrid” scenario.

Telephony with Teams (for users)

Overview (May 2019)

Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

Call Queues (CQ) and Auto Attendants (AA)

Teams Common Area Phone (CAP)

Teams Common Area Phone

Teams Meeting Room

Teams Meeting Room

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The above drawings quickly depict how you can license users, common area phones, meeting room devices and even call queues or auto attendants for Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft is working on an enhanced licensing model for applications like cloud CQ/AA [as you can read in “Manage resource accounts”]. Still, at present user licensing applies for cloud CQ/AA.

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Call Queues and Auto Attendants for Direct Routing

Microsoft released a very important update in case you are planning or already operating Microsoft Teams Direct Routing. I’m very excited about this recent service update. The Call Queue (CQ) and Auto Attendant (AA) Services for call flows and call automation were updated for Teams Direct Routing.

What’s new with Teams Direct Routing (May 2019)?

Let me recap and point out the capabilities which were announced via the Teams blog by Microsoft:

  • Manage CQs and AAs via Teams Admin Center (instead of the legacy SFB Online Admin Center)
  • (Preview May 2019) Support for Teams Direct Routing Telephone Numbers in Call Queues (for Teams-only users)
  • (Preview May 2019) Support for Teams Direct Routing Telephone Numbers in Auto Attendants (for Teams-only users)
  • Centralized holiday tables (to cope with calls differently during holidays)
  • Multiple telephone numbers for an CQ or AA
  • Round robin call distribution for CQ
  • (planned, not yet there) Transfer a CQ/AA call to a PSTN phone number
  • (planned, not yet there) Dial extensions from AA
  • (planned, not yet there) Voicemail shared mailbox for CQ and AA

Please note, in case you utilize SFB Online CQ/AA capabilities already: There are some details for as-is CQ/AA which will be automatically migrated/transferred from the SFB Online Admin Center to the Teams Admin Center.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

I’m really thrilled and excited about these updates. Why? Well, if you were still on Skype for Business Server with Enterprise Voice there were some limitations especially regarding SFB Response Groups which now seem to be addressed with this update for Teams Direct Routing.

What does this mean for you? If you have loads of SFB response groups, e.g. Sales hotline, Support hotline, department … hotlines or else you can start to plan to migrate those to Teams with Teams Direct Routing. I.e. you can assign your onpremise phone numbers for this which you use via Teams Direct Routing (an SBC) which will route incoming PSTN phone numbers from your PSTN link via qualified /certified Session Border Controller (SBC) to Microsoft Phone System and Teams.

Isn’t it amazing? I was waiting quite some time on these capabilities. Well, online you could find some workaround to get this working via SBC SIP message manipulation (no big deal), however these workarounds were not support by Microsoft, so if there would have been any minor change on the Cloud Backend it could break things. And I’m sure you don’t want to have a workaround solution for important or even business critical hotlines which might not work all of a sudden? But now, there are the required capabilities to plan for shifting onpremise SFB Response Groups to (Teams Direct Routing) without any workaround (SIP message manipulations, call forwarding…).

Additional Resources

Microsoft Teams Music On Hold (MoH)

In this post I like to notify you about the upcoming support of Music On Hold (MoH) with Microsoft Teams. As of now MoH is planned to be released in June 2019. MoH will provide music to a caller as long as he/she is on hold by the callee, instead of silence.

Source: Weekly digest: Office 365 changes (Office 365 Message Center) May 13, 2019
Source: M365 Roadmap Featured ID 50796

Conclusion, opinion and summary

MoH is a basic telephony feature in my opinion. If there is no music you might think that the line is dead and you hang up after waiting for a while.

Well, please note, if someone would just mute his/her mic and let you wait in the line there is no MoH.

Additional Resources

Design options for PSTN SIP Trunk links

In this post I show and explain two SIP trunk (topology) designs. This will give you a first glimpse on what you could do if you plan to migrate from ISDN to SIP (ALL-IP) or if you think about consolidating or distributing your PSTN access links, either to reduce costs or increase availability.

This post is just a high level and simplified overview and under no circumstances a complete design or something you can directly apply for your company without knowing your requirements, needs and related dependencies. I don’t go into detail regarding Microsoft Phone System/PBX/SBC deployments and connectivity.

Option 1: Central PSTN SIP Trunk links

Central PSTN SIP Trunk links with two options (example)

Central PSTN SIP Trunk links are one or more sip trunks terminating centrally on a session border controller (SBC, redundant or not redundant). The above figure displays two options:

Option 1: Connect to PSTN via Internet

  • no QoS
  • “no SLA”
  • call and media quality might vary depending on your internet link (bandwidth, latency, roundtrip latency (RTT), jitter, packet loss …)
  • commonly low priced

Option 2: Connect to PSTN via “MPLS” or “MPLS Light”

  • QoS
  • SLA
  • PSTN service provider delivers a dedicated connection link, either via existing MPLS (if PSTN and MPLS/WAN provider are the same) or new IP-link “MPLS Light” (dedicated IP-link and connection only for voice SIP Trunking).
  • commonly costly

Option 2: Decentral / distributed PSTN SIP Trunk links


Decentral / distributed PSTN SIP Trunk links (example)

Decentral PSTN SIP Trunk links are one or more sip trunks terminating on a session border controller (SBC, redundant or not redundant) at each location/site. As the above drawing shows each site has its own PSTN link. In my experience many companies have this architecture if …

  • they are still on ISDN,
  • or have several and different PBXs per site
  • or have local PSTN service provider and did not develop a PSTN provider concept for a central approach
  • or don’t have a highly available WAN in place for a central approach (e.g. no redundant MPLS links, no SD-WAN, …)

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Now, as you can see, there are two major options for designing PSTN access with IP-based SIP Trunks. However, a combination of both is possible, too.

In large and multinational deployments (>10.000 users) you might find a mix of above options within world regions, for instance, central PSTN sip trunks per world region (NOAM, LATAM, North Europe, South Europe, MEA, APAC West, APAC East, APAC South, APAC North). One in a while you might come across certain constraints at a site which make you temporarily stick with ISDN. B

Finally, it all comes down to your requirements, needs and goals. Due to the shift of how we work, how we can communicate and collaborate today, I would prefer and go for a “slim” PSTN access concept.

Additional Resources

Busy on busy in Microsoft Teams

I stumbled upon a new feature which is under development for Microsoft Teams. Belief it or not but on the official Microsoft 365 (M365) roadmap “Microsoft Teams: Busy on Busy” (short, abbr. BoB) appeared in the list. It’s planned for May 2019.

Microsoft Teams: Busy on Busy (Source: https://www.microsoft.com/de-de/microsoft-365/roadmap?filters=&searchterms=49990)

What’s “Busy on Busy”?

Well, this feature gives a caller a busy ton or sound in case the callee is busy with another call/meeting. So, you as a caller then now “Ah, well the person I’m calling is busy, right now. I’ll try it later, send an IM or mail …”

Do you need this?

It depends. It’s a frequently and common feature in Germany. Most people are used to it. In US and other countries it is not so widely used as far as I’m aware of. There is a little different “telephony mindset”, e.g. “If I cannot get a call because I’m busy the caller can leave a voicemail… or it is forwarded to my delegates/assistant …” or “The caller can try another communication option…” That’s why it depends if you need it or not. In general to have it is a good idea so you can decide if you enable it for all or a few users (depending on how the feature can be configured after it’s development).

Update May 16, 2019 – Enable BoB

You can now enable/disable BoB via Calling Policies within the Teams Admin Center\VoiP\Calling Policies or via PowerShell. For details, please see the linkt below “Microsoft Teams Calling Policies (PowerShell Cmdlet Reference)”.

Either within the global or an user policy.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

I remember, in the past, that the announcement of Busy-on-Busy for Skype for Business Server was a big deal. Many customers in Germany were waiting for this nativ feature for SFB. It was released as part of a SFB Server 2015 cumulative update. The busy-on-busy implementation was not 100% as some customers expected it to be. Compared to their known and legacy busy-on-buy feature by their legacy PBX. However it was adopted partially. And third party app and tools for this previously SFB Server 2015 feature gap vanished. Finally, I’m sure Microsoft Teams Busy on Busy will be adopted by some Team users instead of or even supplementary to voicemail, call forwarding or else depending on the configuration and assignment options for BoB.

Please note that this post and its contents might be subject to change. Especially, because it was added and last modified on April 1, 2019.

Additional Resources