Operator Connect licensing options explained

Office 365 licensing can be complex. Navigating all the available apps, features, and add-ons quickly becomes confusing, especially when considering different voice services. 

Microsoft offers its own Calling Plan alongside Operator Connect and Direct Routing, two options for bringing your own PSTN carrier.

Which license does your company actually need to unlock Operator Connect? Buying the wrong license can leave you without the capability to use the service or paying too much for features you won’t use — fortunately, both scenarios can be avoided.

Operator Connect is only available with select Office 365 licenses. Not every option gives you the ability to bring your own carrier, and some won’t even give you access to Microsoft Teams. 

Let’s break these licenses down to help you navigate the maze of Office 365 Operator Connect options. Read on to hone in on precisely the right license for your company.

Note: All specific prices mentioned are as of the publish date; refer to the official Microsoft website for current pricing.

 

What every company will need

Every company must meet the bare minimum requirements to use Operator Connect regardless of the specific license. These are:

  • Microsoft Teams (Included in most 365 plans, but not all)
  • Teams Phone System
  • Agreement with an Operator Connect provider

 

Microsoft must approve your provider to use Operator Connect. Unlike Direct Routing, only a handful of carriers have met Microsoft’s criteria, so double-check the official Microsoft directory before signing up with a new carrier.

You should also keep in mind that your Operator Connect plan and Office 365 licenses are two separate agreements.

 

Operator Connect for small to medium size businesses

Organizations not quite at the enterprise level can save money by exploring entry-level business licenses. The grand total is $20.50 per user per month at the minimum level; let’s break that down:

  • The Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan gives you access to Teams with a base price of $6 per user per month. However, this license will only provide web and mobile apps. You’ll need the Business Standard license for the desktop versions, which runs $12.50.
  • Next, you’ll need the Phone System add-on, which costs an additional $8 per user per month. 
  • Lastly, you need the PSTN Operator Connect/Direct Routing add-on, tacking on another $6.50 per month. 

 

Operator Connect for enterprises

Microsoft offers several Enterprise licenses, but organizations will need either the E3 or E5 license to use Operator Connect. The minimal F3 license won’t be sufficient for using Operator Connect.

How much do these licenses cost?

 

The Office 365 E3 license:

  • $36 per user per month
  • $8 per user per month for Phone System
  • $6.5 per user per month for PSTN Operator Connect/Direct Routing add-on

 

You’ll pay $50.50 monthly per user to enable phone calling capabilities within Microsoft Teams

 

The Office 365 E5 license:

  • $57 per user per month, which includes Phone System
  • $6.5 per user per month for PSTN Operator Connect/Direct Routing add-on

 

The total: $63.50 per user per month to enable phone calling capabilities in Teams.

 

Do you need the E3 or E5 license?

What’s the real difference between these two levels? As far as voice services and Operator Connect are concerned, they’re the same. The only difference is that the Phone System is included in E5 rather than sold as an add-on. 

But there are other differences to understand before signing up. The E5 license includes additional features you may need, such as:

  • Microsoft 365 Defender for Cloud Apps, Endpoint P2, and Identity
  • Robust compliance management
  • Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 2
  • Power BI Pro, an advanced analytics application

Does your enterprise require any of those features? If not, E3 will give you Operator Connect without the added costs.

 

G12 Operator Connect Plans

We’ve made it easier than ever for any business to deploy Operator Connect. Currently, we offer two plans:

  • Basic: A simple, usage-based plan designed for businesses looking to make calls from Teams. This plan starts at $1 per user with per-minute pricing.
  • Unlimited: A more robust plan that offers unlimited Canada and US calling for $6.50 per user.

 

G12 Communications is a tier-1 Operator Connect provider

Do you have a better understanding of which license you actually need? The next step is evaluating different Operator Connect providers. Compare uptime guarantees, service areas, billing rates, and industry reputation to find the right one for your organization’s needs.

G12 Communications is an approved Operator Connect provider with over a decade of providing flawless telecom experiences to our customers. Our tier-1 infrastructure provides a high uptime guarantee at competitive rates across the United States and Canada — all backed by world-class support.

We also offer a free 14-day trial to evaluate our Operator Connect services before signing any contracts. Register for your free trial today and start making phone calls in Teams within 15 minutes.

 

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