As of April 1st, 2020, Microsoft has finally released the greatly anticipated voice plans for small businesses in the United States. This is a major release for Microsoft, addressing the massive segment of the market that has longed to use the Microsoft phone system, but could not justify the costs to move up to the Enterprise plans that were required until now.
Microsoft is also changing the naming of the small business plans to match the Microsoft 365 naming across all plans, so I’ll break down the new licensing below to hopefully shed some light on the options.
New Office 365 Small Business Product Names
The plans below are being modified in name only, and these changes will not impact pricing or features. This change goes live on April 21st, 2020 and will be updated automatically by Microsoft and their partners.
The pricing below is reflected at MSRP through the Microsoft CSP Program.
- Office 365 Business Essentials will become Microsoft 365 Business Basic at $5/user/month
- Office 365 Business Premium will become Microsoft 365 Business Standard at $12.50/user/month
- Microsoft 365 Business will become Microsoft 365 Business Premium at $20/user/month
- Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will both become Microsoft 365 Apps. Where necessary we will use the “for business” and “for enterprise” labels to distinguish between the two.
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Business at $8.25/user/month
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise at $12/user/month
Microsoft 365 Business Voice Options
Within the Microsoft 365 Business Voice solution, organizations can license up to 300 users of Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard, and Premium with M365 Business Voice. It includes a Phone System, Audio Conferencing, and Domestic Calling Plan license in a single package for $20/user/month.
Until now, adding up these components in a piecemeal approach (Phone System at $8/user/month, Audio Conferencing at $4/user/month, and Calling Plan at $12/user/month) came out to $24/user/month.
And, these licenses were only available to add onto the Office 365 Enterprise plans. Dropping the price to a more palatable $20/user/month and opening them up to the Business plans significantly widens the possibility for small businesses to go all in on Microsoft for their communication practices.
The solution can also be added to an unlimited number of users for Office 365 F1, E1, E3, A1, A3 as well as Microsoft 365 A3 and E3. There’s also a plan that does not include a calling plan for $12/user/month, which could be provided instead by a 3rd party provider through Direct Routing.
Below is a breakdown of the costs of all the options available to add on the Microsoft 365 Business Voice plans.
Within the Microsoft 365 Business Voice plan, the calling plan license provides 3000 domestic calling min/user/month and are pooled at the tenant level. Should you need to license users for international calling, they would need to add the International Calling license, which provides 600 min/user/month at $12/user/month.
With all that’s happening today to force businesses to adjust their practices to allow users to work safely and effectively from home, I urge all business leaders to evaluate their current phone system costs and determine if Microsoft 365 Business Voice could empower their users and potentially reduce costs.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, PEI works with all of our clients to maximize their returns on their Microsoft investments, and ensure our clients have successful migrations to Microsoft Phone System.
For companies that are currently licensed under Office 365 or Microsoft 365 Enterprise Plans, fall below the 300 user maximum, and are interested in investigating a licensing transition to the Business Plans to save on costs, we can help you determine the best solution to ensure no functionality is lost and your software spending is controlled.
I’ll write an additional blog on this topic shortly to outline any pitfalls to avoid in downgrading your Microsoft 365 plan.
If you’re interested in having PEI assist with optimizing your licensing and helping your organization adopt the Microsoft Phone System solution, please reach out to us at email@example.com and someone will be in touch with you shortly.
Martin Feehan, Director of Client Relations