Microsoft Teams does a bunch of different things. One of those things, is meetings. It does it quite well too, and many more people have started using Microsoft Teams this year. There’s a few different types of meetings (including Live Events) and a huge amount of content available (video) on advice on how to run one.
However, if you’re not using Microsoft Teams as a full phone system, then meetings are restricted to software based only – you need to use the Microsoft Teams client via browser or full install (on desktop or mobile) to join; there’s no dial in number.
It is possible to buy licenses to give users the ability to create a meeting that also has dial-in support (called Conference Bridging), as long as you are a Volume or Licensing customer. If you meet the pre-requisites, then this just needs an Audio Conferencing license of some sort, with the standard license being per user (like most other licenses) and several dollars a month. In Australia at the time of writing, a license costs RRP $5.50AU if you already have an E1 or E3 license.
For companies that have a central set of staff creating meetings on behalf of the company, then buying a small amount of licenses just for those users can be a good way of getting the dial in option to add value and give a rather cheap way of providing a full audio and video conferencing solution.
A much less common option method of providing a dial in number for Microsoft Teams meetings is using Audio Conferencing pay-per-minute. The way this works is by loading up credits into
Communications Credits , applying the free license to whomever you like, and anyone using a dial-in number starts using those credits. The rates vary wildly based on many scenarios, so you’ll need to check them out for yourself – from less than 10 cents AU upward.
Quick run through of what to set up – read it all before doing any of it!
Microsoft’s doco explains how to do this rather clearly:
In the Microsoft 365 admin center > Billing > Purchase Services > Add Ons you can select Communication Credits to add the credits, and you can add credit manually at any time. You can also enable the Auto-recharge option, which will allow automatic account refills when the balance falls below the threshold that you set.
I couldn’t see that Add Ons category, so searched for “Communication Credits’ under the Purchase Services area, had no results but then saw a link to check the Add-ons category’. On that list I could then see Communication Credits to add. For me in Australia, the minimum was $20.
The auto recharge option can only be triggered when the amount goes below $50 as a minimum (smallest number the field would accept), but I could recharge for another $20, so that’s a fairly small commitment if you expect minimal usage. I set this when I had $20 in, and it did a double recharge to get over the $50 mark instantly.
Audio Conferencing pay-per-minute
You can only get this if you’re a Volume and Licensing customer of Microsoft.
This was the tricky one to find out, but easy once you know what to ask for. You’ll need to ask your license reseller/LAR for:
AudioConfPayPerMin ShrdSvr ALNG SubsVL MVL PerUsr , SKU: HUR-00002
It’s a $0 license, and you may need to say how many licenses (they’re free so go high).
Once they order it, the licenses should turn up like any other under an enterprise agreement, called “Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing Pay-Per-Minute”.
Applying the license
You can’t just apply the Communications Credits license to a user, as it’ll tell you they need to have an Audio Conferencing plan. You can do both at the same time manually, as long as the user has a Skype for Business Online or Microsoft Teams license.
If you want to use Azure AD and assign a license to a group you’ll need to tick all three licenses; Communications Credits, Audio Conferencing pay-per-minute, and Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business. It doesn’t matter if members of the group already get part of the license from another group membership, it requires all three to be applied.
Microsoft Teams Configuration
There’s not much to do here, you might already be configured and ready to go – but you can check your Conference Bridging settings in the Teams admin center and make sure you’re happy with the default number and options.
You’re done! It can take a little while for the dial in number to show in the Teams signature when creating a meeting via Outlook – maybe a few hours from my experience.
You can check the status of your credits in the Microsoft 365 admin center, under Billing > Your Products > Communications Credits (it’ll have the Skype for Business logo).
Hopefully this helps people that have Teams, but aren’t ready to go to it for a full voice solution yet, while allowing others to dial into meetings (very handy when someone doesn’t have a good internet connection).
Note: You can see how your credits are being used here:
- Sign in to Office 365, navigate to the “Teams admin portal”, then “Legacy Portal” on the left menu.
- Navigate to “Reports” on the left menu, then the “PSTN minute pools” tab.