Microsoft Teams Meetings to Include Unlimited PSTN Dial-in

In a blog post by Jared Spataro, Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President, it was noted that unlimited dial-in capabilities will be added for more types of Microsoft Teams.
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Microsoft Teams Meetings to Include Unlimited PSTN Dial-in for More License Types

Microsoft recently announced a change regarding Microsoft Teams. In a blog post by Jared Spataro, Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President, it was noted that unlimited dial-in capabilities will be added for more types of Microsoft Teams. This implementation of Public Switched Telephone Network, (PSTN) capabilities will be effective for enterprise, business, frontline, and government suites. The transition will take place over the next few months.

Unlimited PSTN Dialing For Microsoft Teams

Who Would Users Need PSTN Dialing Capabilities?

PSTN, the traditional circuit-switched telephone network, in use from the late 1800s through today remains a go-to system when gaps occur in wireless communication.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which uses digital voice translation, is normally the recommended option for Microsoft Teams. VoIP doesn’t result in additional charges. It also provides wideband audio.

But some Teams users might need PSTN access for a variety of reasons relating to connectivity or data coverage.

  • Sometimes participants have limited internet connectivity. VoIP may be of poor quality, or completely unavailable.
  • A participant may have problems with their personal computer or mobile phone.
  • Call quality may improve with dial-up, due to location.
  • Other factors may make dial-up seem easier or more convenient, in some cases.

The Current Status of PSTN and Microsoft Teams

Before this planned transition, Microsoft’s PSTN audio conferencing was already included with Microsoft 365 E5 and Office 365 E5.

But an add-on license was required for licenses below those levels, like E3 and additional business, frontline and government licenses. PSTN audio conferencing licenses cost $4.00/month per each user. Enterprise customers were offered a pay per minute PSTN audio conferencing option.

The New Ruling Will Permit Widely Available No Charge PSTN Dial-in Access

Users of Microsoft Teams’ E5 version, who already received free PSTN, only make up about 8% of total commercial users of Office 365. So the majority of Microsoft Teams’ customers will be recipients of the newly granted access.

Some Plans Will See a Price Increase

Amid the announcement of the new PSTN ruling, Microsoft also announced increased prices for many of the plans granted free PSTN access. The prices will go into effect on March 1, 2022.

The effect of the price increase will differ by license type.

Here is the coming price schedule, as reported in a Tom Talks post.

  • Office 365 E1 from $8 to $10 per user per month
  • Office 365 E3 from $20 to $23 per user per month
  • Office 365 E5 from $35 to $38 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic from $5 to $6 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium from $20 to $22 per user per month
  • Microsoft 365 E3 from $32 to $36 per user per month

Most levels will see less increase than the amount of cost reduction for PSTN capabilities. No price increases will take place for education and frontline worker plans. So they will still benefit from the change.

But for E3 license holders, the cost increase is the same as the savings. And E5 already had PSTN Audio Conferencing at no extra charge, yet they will see a price rise, so their cost will increase.

Will the Cost to Dial Out From a Microsoft Teams Meeting Change?

Sometimes, a user will want the meeting to dial their phone rather than requiring them to dial in. Dialing out may sometimes be necessary to admit a PSTN phone or user into a meeting. In Jared Spataro’s blog announcing the changes, he uses the phrase, “unlimited dial-in capabilities”. It wasn’t made clear whether the change applies to dial-out calls also.

Does the new plan operate in the same manner as the current Microsoft PSTN conferencing license? If so, each license will receive sixty minutes per user per month. This amount could be used to dial out to non-premium phone numbers at a location in any Zone A country.

After the sixty minutes is up, or if the need arises to dial out to non-Zone-A countries, a per-minute cost would be applied, but that cost would be covered by the use of any communication credits. Note this post on Microsoft’s “dial out from a meeting” audio conferencing guidelines. 

We will have to wait and see what Microsoft specifically says about the dial-out question.

The Importance of Microsoft Teams

Ease of sharing information for collaboration through meetings and chats is a primary goal of implementing Microsoft Teams. Team members can communicate easily, with all members, simultaneously, in a structured manner. This prevents confusion and frustration often triggered by the need for multiple messaging. It’s easy to keep everyone updated with the tools provided by Microsoft Teams.

How to Best Leverage Benefits From Microsoft Team Meetings

Following the creation of a collaborative meeting in-platform, it’s important to make the most of the results by utilizing other features of Teams. Send chats to participants. Maintain and retain notes regarding the meeting’s purpose, the dialogue and resulting conclusions.

Share files, create to-do lists for the people involved in problems or projects the meeting addressed, to create engagement and trigger collaboration. Use the option to record team meetings, for reviewing purposes, as long as everyone participating can access Microsoft Stream.

By optimizing meetings and making use of available functions, the best chance of positive results can be achieved.

Impact of Pricing Changes

The unequal price increases, as they relate to PSTN charges, may not make sense, especially to users who will pay more. And dial-out policies have not yet been made clear. But until VoIP is reliable, of high quality, and universally accessible, continuing use of PSTN for Microsoft Teams Meetings is necessary, in the interest of fairness. Everyone who needs and wants to participate in video conferencing should have the capability.

V&C Solutions provides IT services and support throughout the San Francisco Bay area. From small businesses to corporate IT departments, the V&C team is your local source for the latest information on IT options. They can help you determine the best IT products for your business. V&C provides complete support as local experts for Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Teams. Contact us for help in obtaining the greatest benefit from Microsoft Teams and all IT support and security issues.

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