Microsoft has provided a much-needed update for options to license the various use cases for common area phones with their cloud-based phone system application, Microsoft Teams. This has been a long time coming, as there has been a great deal of confusion and over-licensing to ensure full functionality. There are two options for licensing common area phones as March 2022.
Common Area Phone License – $8/device/month
This plan has been available for a while and has been the method most organizations used to license common area devices. The SKU includes the Microsoft Phone System License, so those devices can accept calls and join meetings; however, the room cannot initiate the conference (would need an Audio Conferencing license). The device would also need a Calling Plan to join a PSTN conference ($12/month domestic, and $24/month domestic + international).
These devices cannot be managed and configured through Intune, which makes the manual setup and configuration problematic for larger organizations.
This plan is the more appropriate option for true common area phones (as opposed to conference rooms), as it comes in at a lower price point and doesn’t require the features that a conference room phone would need, such as creating conference bridges.
Meeting Room License – $15/device/month
This new plan is the far better solution for conference rooms, as the license provides both the Microsoft Phone System License, Audio Conferencing License, and can be managed through Intune. Like the Common Area Phone license, this also needs a Calling Plan to have full functionality, but still comes in with a much more complete feature package. This is the best option for all conference rooms, from huddle rooms through executive board rooms. These licenses can be purchased through the CSP, EA, and direct programs with Microsoft.
Martin Feehan, PEI