A Short Guide to MicroSoft Teams Audio Conferencing

A Short Guide to MicroSoft Teams Audio Conferencing

Microsoft Teams can have a very complicated licensing method. 

The base license is included in most bundles (E1, E5, Business Premium, etc.) which includes using Teams along with peer-to-peer calling and meetings using computer audio.  

To add the functionality of a dial-in number, an audio-conferencing add-on license is needed for each meeting organizer (this license is included in E5).

However, that audio conferencing license adds more features but also comes with limitations, especially with regards to dialling out from a meeting. 

This post will go through these limitations and how to avoid a potential bad end user experience. 

 

What is the audio-conferencing add-on license? 

When a person schedules a meeting without an audio-conferencing license assigned to them, the meeting invite will contain a link to join the meeting but no dial-in number or a conference ID: 

This should be fine for most meetings as people can join via the web or desktop client to the meeting and use their computer audio. 

However, we still have many people that want to dial into a meeting. To add dial-in information to a meeting invite, an administrator will need to assign an audio-conferencing license to the meeting organizer. When that person goes to create a meeting, the invite will include a dial-in number along with a conference ID: 

 

Dial Out Capabilities 

Initially when Teams was introduced, Microsoft provided a “complimentary dial-out capability”. This benefit was for customers that were rolling out audio conferencing to their users and they had 900 minutes per user per month to dial out to any of the 44 Zone A countries and regions. These minutes were pooled at the tenant level, so if you had 100 users with audio conferencing licenses, those 100 users had 90,000 minutes a month for dial out. 

Unfortunately, this benefit ended on November 2019. Instead of 900 minutes per user, this dropped to 60 minutes per user assigned an audio-conferencing license (these minutes are still pooled at the tenant level). So now those 100 users drop to just 6,000 minutes per month for the dialling out to any Zone A countries.  

So, what happens when you use all of your dial out minutes? 

 

Communications Credits to the Rescue 

Microsoft Teams has an additional license called communications credits that allow for purchasing additional minutes after available minutes have been consumed. These also allow the use of toll-free numbers for audio conferencing. In our case, communications credits are going to allow our users to continue dialling out from an audio-conferencing meeting once the pooled minutes are consumed, and they are charged on a per minute basis. 

To allow this consumption of the credits, we need to provision communications credits licenses to our tenant (which are free and unlimited) and assign them to users who potentially need to use the credit in order to continue making calls. We then need to add a pre-paid balance for our credits inside the menu under Billing > Your products. You can add funds as a one off or setup auto-recharge when the balance hits a certain threshold to automatically increase credits. 

Once the communications credits license is assigned to your users, they will have the ability to continue making dial out calls after the pooled minutes have been consumed. They will be charged on a per-minute basis to do so.

 

Contact Thomas Peer Solutions to discuss which licencing option is best for you.