As per my previous blog, this service now announced in Australia and expect to be generally available in few months time.
The service description does not include Microsoft Teams yet but technically it does not prevent using PSTN services for Teams since the new number is automatically assigned to the same user enabled on SFBO (unless Teams is explicitly disabled).
Here is a screenshot of my first user enabled on Teams with a Western Australian phone number;
There is nothing new about the technology but I’m excited since it worked in the first place 🙂
I was privileged to work with Telstra and Microsoft Australia during last 3 months (under NDA) on formulating a strategy for Australian customers to be able to own a phone number for Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business Online as a part of Office 365.
The official launch event held in Sydney on 19/03/2018 at the Telstra customer experience centre https://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/solutions/collaboration-conferencing/cloud-collaboration/telstra-calling-365
Current service enabled countries;
The new service is named as “Telstra Calling for O365 (TCO)” and now in preview with first 35 customers chosen by 7 Australian partners. Australia is the 11th country being added to the service but quite different from the other 10 countries’ model.
Microsoft solely acts as the PSTN provider in all other cases except the very first partnership model developed for Australia. Telstra, Australia’s premier communications provider will provide the PSTN capabilities directly via Microsoft datacentres in Sydney and Melbourne leaving Microsoft to provide the Office 365 front-end for customers.
The purchasing experience will be slightly different from the global model but the service enabling process is quite similar via same O365 control panel.
There will be 3 calling plans instead of 2 plans elsewhere, below is a glimpse of the new calling plans;
and here are the special conditions to be considered;
I’m helping few preview customers as I write this article and hope to provide further updates during the preview period. Stay tuned…
Microsoft recently unveiled the latest options for enabling voice in Microsoft Teams using a new method “Direct Routing”, previously tagged as “bring your own trunk (BYOT).
Why this is more attractive is there will be no requirement of maintaining any kind of on-premises service components that SfB used such as an on-prem SfB pool or a Cloud Connector Edition as the minimum.
This capability will allow customers to choose a certified Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams (subject to availability in countries) which could be preferred Sip provider of a customer or use a certified Session Border Controller (SBC) from a vendor such as Audiocodes or Ribbon Communications.
The first method simply provides the flexibility of choosing a preferred Sip provider opposed to the default Microsoft PSTN offering.
But, in reality, it will be difficult and challenging to transform on-prem telephony to a direct route over night due to the technical limitations and specific customer telephony requirements being built-up over the time.
So, using a certified SBC would be the best options for established businesses to transform their telephony with peace of mind.
The SBCs may be the ideal option if you have;
- a significant investment on a contact center solution which needs to be intact but not to be excluded (inter-op)
- specific anloag services such as Fax, boom gates, fire alarms, doors etc.
- an existing SfB/Lync enterprise voice environment with multiple number ranges
- established Auto Attendant and Response Group based services to be available during the transformation
- specific number presentation/manipulation requirements
The bottom line is SBCs are relatively cheap appliances and has been in the market ever since Sip services’ existence, so it is proved tech we can leverage in many ways.
Note: Microsoft Teams is rapidly evolving as I write this post and we expect to see the feature parity gap is closing by the time of General Availability of the service.
As per the last Microsoft Ignite announcement, we will see a new single pane of glass Admin centre for both Skype for Business online and Microsoft Teams.
The current O365 Admin Centre has no Microsoft Teams dedicated admin space other than the settings section.
The new admin centre is one more step closer to the overall Teams “look & feel” re-confirming the future of SFBO.
Image captured from official blog https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/What-s-new-in-Office-365-Administration-Ignite-Edition/ba-p/110337