On May 1st, 2018, Microsoft announced that they have made Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Calling Plans for Office 365 generally available in Canada. This announcement is very exciting, because of the number of benefits that come with adoption of a Cloud-based PSTN system within your organization. With PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365, for example, you’ll see significant cost savings, lower maintenance requirements, and definite improvement in mobility.

This announcement from Microsoft has opened the floodgates when it comes to questions, so, to assist you in deciding if PSTN Calling Plan for Office 365 is right for you, this blog explains what Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365 are, and provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about PSTN Calling. It will also help you understand the first steps you need to take to get started.

 

What Are Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365?

To provide organizations that have a traditional on-premises “landline” with a completely Cloud-hosted PSTN solution, Microsoft created PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365 – a solution that marries traditional PSTN calling with Voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology. Available through the Skype for Business Cloud PBX or Microsoft Teams, Microsoft’s PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365 can give people in your organization their own primary phone number, which they can use to make and receive calls, through the Internet.

In other words, your organization is now able to ditch the cumbersome, on-premise structure and move your organization to a sleek, Cloud solution that lets you make and receive calls from your PC, handset, or mobile device.

 

Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365 – Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about Microsoft’s new PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365:

 

Q1: What Office 365 licensing do I need to add Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans?

A1: Microsoft Phone System is included with Office 365 Enterprise E5 licenses (you just have to pay for the Calling Plan that suits your organization), and available for an extra charge with Office 365 Enterprise E1 and E3.

 

Q2: What are the different Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans options?

A2: There are 3 Calling Plans available through Microsoft PSTN Calling:

  • Domestic Calling Plan (for 120 minutes): a small package that’s best for organizations who will only occasionally be using Skype or Teams to communicate.
  • Domestic Calling Plan (for 3,000 minutes, or the equivalent of 150 minutes/day): this standard package allows the end user to place calls with outside parties (i.e. other organizations within Canada/USA) on a regular basis.
  • Domestic & International Calling Plan (3,000 minutes and/or 600 international minutes): this option is best for users that are required to call internationally on a regular basis.

The minutes are pooled for everyone at a particular SKU and geography. This is by design, and at the request of customers. For example, 100 users at the 3000 minutes per month plan in Canada would have a pool of 300,000 minutes per month. Given the nature of people being on vacation, absent, or simply not using their minutes, this is a great way to get the full value out of your minutes.

 

Q3: How much do the Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans options cost?

A3: Here’s the price for each Calling Plan:

  • Domestic Calling Plan (for 120 minutes): $7.30 CAD/user/month
  • Domestic Calling Plan (for 3,000 minutes, or the equivalent of 150 minutes/day): $14.59 CAD/user/month
  • Domestic & International Calling Plan (3,000 minutes and/or 600 international minutes): $29.18 CAD/user/month

 

Q4: How much can I expect to spend on Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans?

A4: This is entirely dependent on the core license you choose (Enterprise E1, E3, or E5). Enterprise E5 has the Microsoft Phone System (formerly known as Cloud PBX) and Audio Conferencing currently built into the $44.20 CAD/user/month price tag, so all you need to do is add the calling plan of your choice. With Enterprise E1 or E3, however, you’ll need to add Microsoft Phone System to your core license for $9.70 CAD/user/month, and decide if you want or need to add Audio Conferencing, too (which is an additional $4.86 CAD/user/month), before you determine which Calling Plan suits your needs.

Check out this chart below for a more detailed look at how much you can expect to spend on Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans (these prices are in CAD):

* Note: The Per User, Per Month price includes the cost of the core license, Microsoft Phone System, audio conferencing, and the 120-minute Domestic Calling Plan.

 

Q5: Where is Microsoft Calling Plans currently available?

A5: Microsoft supports Calling Plans in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and is currently in preview mode in Australia.

 

Q6: To access Calling Plans, do I need to use Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams?

A6: Calling Plans work with both Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. Transitioning between the two systems is also relatively easy, so if you start off using Skype for Business and need to switch to Teams, you can.

 

Q7: Our organization’s in Canada, but we are frequently calling our customers in the United States. Do we need to sign up for the international plan?

A7: No! A useful feature that Microsoft is offering is that any calls made between a Canadian and a US user (in both directions) is considered a domestic call. This option helps you further control costs for your organization.

 

Q8: If we implement PSTN calling in our organization, do we still need landline service from our current telecom company?

A8: No, you don’t need to use your landline from your current service provider. Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365 can replace your current landline service, often at a significantly reduced rate.

 

Q9: I’m an established business, so keeping my current phone number is important to me. Is this possible with Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans?

A9: Yes! with Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans, you can easily transfer your phone numbers from your current service provider to your new Microsoft Phone System. Once you’ve done so, Microsoft will become your service provider and will bill you for those phone numbers.

 

Get Started with Microsoft PSTN Calling Plans for Office 365

Like what you’ve read? Want to see if Microsoft PSTN Calling is right for your organization? The first step in your journey is to do an assessment of your IT network and telephony infrastructure, which will help you determine how your organization can benefit from implementing a Microsoft PSTN Calling solution.

During this assessment, ProServeIT will look at all the key factors within your IT network; for instance, what your requirements are for incoming calls, what your voice traffic looks like today, how many Primary Rate Interfaces (or phone lines) you have, what your long-distance consumption looks like, and whether your current Internet bandwidth can support VoIP.

Get started today! Contact ProServeIT to begin your Microsoft PSTN Calling journey.