Migrating to Microsoft Teams Phone?Here’s What You Need To Know

If you’re thinking about migrating to Microsoft Teams Phone, you’re about to be in the company of 80 million other users who are using the service.

With 20 million even opting for a full migration, including PSTN breakout, that’s quite the validation that it’s a viable service.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely for one of two reasons:

  • You’re migrating to Teams Phone
  • You’re thinking about migrating to Teams Phone

To make sure you’re making the right choice, we’ll split this blog post into three key areas: the why, the how, and the maybes.

Let’s get started with validating your decision to move to Teams voice.

< Back to menuWhy use Microsoft Teams voice?

Choosing Microsoft Teams voice (aka Teams Phone) is often the final step of the migration to Teams.

A common pattern looks like this:

  • Everyone installs Teams on their desktop/laptop
  • High usage of Teams for meetings and chats
  • Medium usage for document creation and sharing
  • Semi-adoption of the Teams mobile app
  • Governance to ensure continued and correct adoption (and avoid shadow IT)
  • Enable Teams voice when Teams becomes the de facto collaboration tool of choice

Adoption of Teams

If you’re nearing the end of this rollout pattern, Teams voice is the natural next step. After all, if all your users are holding their meetings, storing their documents, and messaging their colleagues in Teams, it doesn’t make sense to force them to use another platform to make calls.

In the case of desk phones, you could argue that it doesn’t matter what powers the calling. But think about it from an administration perspective. 

Wouldn’t life be easier if you could manage everything in a single platform? The Teams Admin Center (TAC) is designed for this exact reason. Use it!

So the major argument in favor of Teams voice is that it just makes sense. For users and for admins. 

It will also keep your procurement and budgeting teams happy too. With initiatives like Operator Connect and Shared Calling, Microsoft has forfeited the right to monopolize calling charges, allowing third parties to provide bundled and discounted calling solutions for your benefit.

And, if you’ve got E5 licenses, then you’ve already got Teams Phone included!

So, why Teams voice?

  • Productive workflow for users
  • Ease of management for admins
  • Cost benefits for your entire business

< Back to menuWhat are the prerequisites for Teams Phone migration?

Before you begin your migration to Teams Phone, there are some things to make sure you have in order.

You must have the relevant Teams license to enable PSTN calling.

This can either be:

  • Teams Phone Standard (which is included in E5)
  • Teams Phone with Calling Plan bundle

If you are on a Microsoft 365 E1 or E3 plan, you can request Teams Phone be added and Microsoft will quote custom pricing for this. 

Note: These licenses will enable PBX capabilities but you also need a PSTN connectivity option. 

Choose from:

  • Microsoft Calling Plans
  • Operator Connect
  • Direct Routing
  • Teams Phone Mobile

Not sure which is the right option for you?

Read this first 👉 Operator Connect vs Microsoft Calling Plans vs Direct Routing

Internal prerequisites for Teams Phone center around network readiness. Ultimately, you’re not ready for Teams Phone if you haven’t thought about the following:

  • Quality of Service (QoS): Prioritization of real-time call traffic over non-real-time activities like app downloading. Ensure minimal jitter and packet loss by managing resources.
  • Bypassing proxies: If Teams calls must pass proxies, there will likely be audio issues. Specify which proxies Teams can bypass in Internet settings.
  • Split Tunneling on VPNs: Optimize remote users’ experience while mitigating the risk of VPN infrastructure saturation.

See the below diagram where there is a VPN split tunnel solution with defined Microsoft 365 exceptions sent directly to the service. All other traffic traverses the VPN tunnel regardless of destination.

VPN Split Tunnel Diagram

Once you’ve catered to Microsoft’s prerequisites for Teams Phone and taken care of your internal network optimizations, it’s time to choose your option for enabling outbound calling.

< Back to menuOptions to enable outbound calling in Microsoft Teams

There are three main options to enable outbound calling in Teams:

  • Operator Connect
  • Direct Routing
  • Microsoft Calling Plan

There is also a fourth option if mobile is a concern or requirement: Teams Phone Mobile.

1 - Operator Connect

Operator Connect enables you to make external PSTN calls from within your Teams tenant using a telecoms “operator”. This might be your existing provider or you might go to market and buy a calling package from the likes of Tata, BT, AT&T, or Pure IP.

All the connectivity and infrastructure is managed by that provider as a cloud service to you. When you need to make changes to users and numbers, you can do so via the TAC. Operators may also provide their own portal environment for more complex changes.

The major benefit of Operator Connect is that you benefit from more competitive pricing but can still manage your phone system using the TAC. You get the best of both worlds: Teams + existing call provider.

Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams

Choose Operator Connect when:

  • Data security is of utmost importance: take advantage of trusted Microsoft cross-connects.
  • You need coverage in regions outside of Microsoft’s geographic Calling Plans.
  • Your business prides itself on call quality: these cross-connects mean fewer hops between public networks and less potential for jitter, latency, and packet loss.
  • You don’t have the resource to manage numbers internally: through PowerShell, Direct Routing, or any other technical setup.

2 - Direct Routing

Think of Direct Routing as “Bring Your Own SBC”. Or think of providers, like Pure IP, hosting a Direct Routing as a Service option. If you don’t have the in-house resource, we can provide a managed service option.

Direct Routing allows you to add PSTN calling to Microsoft Teams using your preferred SIP trunk provider.

When doing so, users can make and receive external phone calls using Teams. The front-end interface remains Teams. The back end is powered by your SIP trunk provider.

PSTN calling-01

You can achieve this by deploying a Microsoft-approved SBC. This then connects your SIP trunk and your carrier’s network to Microsoft’s Phone System and your Teams tenant.

Choose Direct Routing when:

  1. You need flexibility: and your complex requirements need ongoing changes.
  2. You need integration with lots of other apps: both inside and outside the Microsoft ecosystem.
  3. You strive for feature parity with your previous phone system.
  4. Your goal is to consolidate all telecoms into a single network.

3 - Microsoft Calling Plan

Microsoft Calling Plan is the simplest way to enable outbound calling in Teams.

This is where you can buy your phone number and minutes from Microsoft directly. Your contract for calling is with Microsoft in this case as they are the PSTN carrier. Everything gets managed in the TAC.

Phone System with Calling Plan

You can buy licenses, numbers, and minutes on a per user per month basis and packaged in bundles. These also apply on a per country basis.

You can also buy pay-as-go packages unless you’re in the US. These are not available in the US due to tax reasons.

Choose Microsoft Calling Plan when:

  1. You are looking for a voice service you can activate quickly: and on a per user basis.
  2. You have basic requirements: and are unlikely to need advanced calling functionality.
  3. You value regular monthly billing: for budgeting and forecasting purposes.
  4. You want to, or are happy with, managing your voice setup via the Microsoft admin center.

4 - Teams Phone Mobile

Teams Phone Mobile is when partner mobile operators provide a single phone number that is both your mobile number and your Teams Phone number.

For example, +447911123456 is a mobile number in the UK. But it can also be your Teams Phone number like a landline. There’s no need for a location-based number as well.

You can make and receive calls from your mobile, Teams on a desktop/laptop client, IP phone, or the mobile app.

You can answer incoming calls on your desktop and/or mobile via the native dialler or via the app if you prefer (set by user policy). 

Benefits of Teams Phone Mobile include:

  1. A single mobile number for all calls
  2. Single unified presence and voicemail
  3. Unified compliance recording (if you have compliance recording setup for Teams)

MS Teams phone mobile 2

When you’ve selected the best option to enable calling for your business, you have the choice of either selecting new numbers or porting your existing ones.

New numbers can be acquired via the TAC. Porting your existing numbers needs a little bit of work.

< Back to menuPorting your phone numbers to Microsoft Teams

It’s not often that businesses enable voice for Teams without already having some phone numbers. When this is the case, turning on Teams Phone is simple and you can use new numbers provided by Microsoft or an operator of your choosing.

If you do already have phone numbers, you’ll need to port them from your existing telco onto Microsoft Teams or your new provider. 

How to port numbers with Pure IP 

This process may differ depending on which provider you are using. Using Pure IP as an example, we gather the necessary details to initiate the number porting process, but have a few requirements to ensure a streamlined delivery. 

Required Information:

  • Company Information: Ensure the details match what is on file with your current provider, including the company name, billing and service address, billing telephone number, and the name of the authorized user on the account.
  • Most Recent Invoice: Provide the latest invoice from your current provider for the numbers you wish to port.
  • Active Account: Your current provider account must be active for the porting process to proceed.

Important considerations: 

  • Domestic Porting: The process typically takes 10-15 business days, but it can extend to over 60 days in some cases.
  • International Porting: The duration varies by country or region.
  • Toll-Free Number Porting: This usually takes 7-10 days but can extend to over 30 days.

Note: there are many benefits to porting your numbers before migration.

By splitting the porting and migration activities, using cloud trunks, we can port your numbers then immediately route them back to your existing system. Not all Teams Phone enablers can do this.

This has the benefit of porting your numbers ahead of time, assigning numbers in Operator Connect (for example), and routing back to the original destination, so you can simply reroute the numbers on the day of migration instead of waiting for number porting to complete.

The opposite scenario, enabling a new phone system and porting numbers on the same day, could go absolutely fine. But you could also be reliant on the losing provider releasing your numbers and completing manual tasks. 

In this case, you must plan for potentially unknown downtime then have to run around assigning numbers to phones, users, and other devices.

Porting your numbers to this holding pen state, where possible, ensures a more relaxed and controlled day of migration.

How to port numbers using Microsoft Teams

If you are not using an external provider and are instead working directly with Microsoft, this is the process to follow.

As with any number porting, you must submit a porting request to your existing operator. This may involve completing a letter of authority and bill/invoice submission.

In the TAC, there is a section named Phone numbers. Here, you have access to add new numbers, port existing numbers from another telco, or make changes to existing numbers already in Teams Phone.

To start a porting request, hit the Port option, and complete the number information required.

MS Teams Phone Numbers

How long does it take to port numbers to Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft quotes a lead time of seven to 14 days for a porting order to complete. 

However, this is reliant on several factors:

  • The information you submit is correct and matches your existing provider’s records
  • The losing provider responds to the porting order in a suitable time

If your porting order gets rejected or delayed, this is almost always down to the losing provider not being able to validate the order. If their records don’t match the information you’ve input, they should reject it in case it’s a false porting order.

In this case, speak with both parties to confirm there hasn’t been a change of address, change of number range, or any other issue impacting what you think is the right information on your porting order.

< Back to menuShould you replicate your existing phone system on Teams?

While feature parity may be the goal for some PBX admins, it’s not entirely what Teams is designed for. Nor is Teams (yet) a 100% direct replacement for an on-premises or even cloud phone system.

It is, however, an advanced collaboration solution that replaces some of the legacy needs of your phone system.

You do get call queues and auto attendants and you can customize a fair amount. But it’s best to familiarize yourself with the Teams Phone PBX feature list before you start mapping your existing PBX features to what’s possible in Teams.

Teams Phone PBX feature list

  • Cloud auto attendants
  • Cloud call queues
  • Music on hold
  • Call forwarding
  • Call pickup
  • Call transfer
  • Voicemail
  • Call park
  • Caller ID
  • Device switching
  • Presence-based call routing
  • Secondary ringer
  • Distinctive ring
  • Shared line appearance
  • Busy on busy
  • Call blocking

All the features are accessed and customizable via the TAC. If you choose Direct Routing as your Teams Phone option, you have the option to configure any on-premises functionality from your existing phone system or SBC. This is when choosing Direct Routing becomes the obvious choice (if you crave existing PBX functionality and can’t afford to lose it).

< Back to menuEdge cases to consider when moving to Teams Phone

Although we’re operating in the 21st century and have access to super modern technology like Copilot and virtual avatars, there are still plenty of legacy technologies we must consider in our migration to Teams Phone.

These might include:

  • Analog adapters 
  • Fax machines
  • PA systems 
  • DECT phones

Here’s what you need to know about dealing with legacy devices…

All these devices are supported when migrating to Teams Phone. That’s a relief, right?

Using various gateways and components in the Teams architecture, you can connect any of these devices to Teams without the hassle of creating a bit part solution.

In your business, there might be an out there edge case that you’re stuck with. That’s where using a trusted Microsoft partner comes in handy.

< Back to menuGet help with your migration to Teams Phone

Moving to Teams Phone is simple if you’re starting from scratch. If you’re getting new numbers and a new phone system (e.g. setting up a new site), you can turn everything on fairly easily.

When migrating to Teams Phone, inclusive of number porting, enabling outbound calling, and rerouting inbound calls and queues, there’s a little work to be done.

If it’s your first time moving to Teams Phone, it pays dividends to use an experienced Teams enabler.

With over 1,000 customers using Teams Phone via Pure IP, we’ve seen a thing or two when it comes to Teams migrations. We recognize it’s a big shift for your business and needs meticulous planning.

Using our experience and expertise, you can benefit from our Cloud Enablement Services to get you from potential Teams Phone migration to fully adopted rollout.

Is Teams Phone on your agenda?

Book a call and speak to one of our experts about your migration project here.

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