Anyone using Microsoft Teams as their phone system?

We are thinking of using Teams as a replacement for our PBX. If you are using Teams for your phone system, can you answer these questions?

  1. Are your users happy?

  2. Did you buy phones, if not what are your users using in lieu of phones?

  3. Knowing what you know now, would you have gone a different route?

  4. What gotchas would you care to share?

  5. What are you doing for faxing?

I think weather or not Teams Phone is a good replacement for your PBX
depends a lot on how your organization uses phones and how cost
sensitive you are. If users are really happy using teams, cost isn’t a
primary motivator and you don’t have a complex phone configuration or
workflows, Teams can be a great fit.

The downsides can be summed up pretty well IMO:

  1. Cost - The phones need to run full android, dial plans are relatively
    expensive and alternatives require costly and complex session border
    controllers, especially if any kind of redundancy is wanted.
  2. UX/UI - Everything uses the Teams interface, even the desk phones. If
    your users don’t love that interface for chat, they won’t love it for
  3. Features - Teams has very, very limited call flow options. Last I
    checked they were roughly on-par with the in-box functionality of a 90’s
    era PBX. If you have simple IVR’s, ring groups and give your users a lot
    of autonomy in how they use phones it’s pretty decent but if you do any
    sort of call center or cascading ring group style things you may be
    sorely limited. At this point I think it’s intentional, as I don’t think
    Microsoft wants Teams Phone to be the go-to for organizations who spend
    the majority of their time on the phone.


In 32 years I’ve set up one ivr and one ring group.

No complaints about chat.

We’ve been on Teams voice about a year now. Overall it’s been a good change and we don’t regret it. We got rid of 95% of desk phones and trained users to use their mobile phone and/or laptop as a phone. the majority of staff took to it very easily… our “front desk” people that need to route incoming calls have had the most trouble, but in the end they’ve adapted just fine.

We were told we’d want to budget for good headsets for staff that would use Teams voice a lot, but we haven’t found that to be the case… we didn’t buy a single headset and people just use whatever earbuds they have without complaint. Most don’t even do that and just use their mobile (via Teams app).

The only desk phones we keps around were for reception, and a few key staff that are on a phone ALL THE TIME, and a smattering of places like Kids registration desks.

We dislike the way you have to create a MP3 and upload it to the IVR to change a greeting (think weather closures or holiday service times) but have adapted to that, too. We’d just prefer if they had a way to call in and record something over a greeting.

All good replies so far! Keep in mind there are hybrid options. We have a phone system that we offer to clients in our state (Indiana) right now (other states require expensive compliance changes that don’t make sense unless we sell a lot in one state), that offers integration with Microsoft Teams as an option. Teams then acts as an additional handset on an extension, which can also have desk phones, non-Teams mobile app, web phone, etc. and we can use all of our normal PBX features like call queues, auto-attendants, etc. while still letting users primarily use Teams if they want to. We just switched a church client over to this last week. About 35 users, a couple of phones without Teams, about 10 desk phones (those users mostly also have Teams), and the rest are all Teams-only. It’s a good mix of capabilities along with convenience of Teams if people are already using it.

You do have separate licensing costs with Microsoft for the phone system capability without a dial plan (which is added by the PBX) on top of the PBX cost. For charity pricing, Microsoft is currently at $3.20 per user for the Teams Phone System license to enable the capability. For businesses, it’s closer to $8. Then the phone system is integrated. But then you don’t pay Microsoft for their calling plan and deal with their number porting team (never had a good experience) or back-end features (limited, as discussed).

It’s also possible with some companies to add dialtone via Direct Routing (which is what our system uses above) without the separate full PBX features with the non-calling-plan licensing from Microsoft. Services vary on what features they offer. For us, we use it to link with our fully-featured PBX; for others, they can provide just the minutes or call capacity and numbers for an otherwise mostly-Teams system. Larger numbers of users do better with this usually, because of the complexity to set up and manage (the setup process with our integration still takes some time for every client because of all the Microsoft knobs to twist!)–a smaller team without complexity that can work directly with Teams probably wants to look at the full Microsoft system if they want to go that way.

We have to record messages that way with our current system.

We also got rid of our physical phones. We don’t even use them at reception. Many people had their own airpods and much prefer using those for calls over a headset or a phone.

We have been on Teams Voice for 2 years come June.

  1. Are your users happy?
    Yes - our users love the flexibility with Teams Voice. They also love the ability to make/receive calls via the Teams app on their cell phones rather than giving out their cell phone number to everyone. They love the ability to answer calls remotely.

  2. Did you buy phones, if not what are your users using in lieu of phones?
    About half of our users wanted to keep their desk phones. We ended up buying Yealink Teams Phones, however, if you have SIP IP phones now, you should be able to use them in a limited fashion with recent compatibility enhancements Microsoft has rolled out.

  3. Knowing what you know now, would you have gone a different route?
    No, we are very happy with it. We hired a partner, BEMA, to help setup our SBC and help with the initial setup. We also pay them a monthly fee for support. Even with what we pay for support on top of the Teams charges from Microsoft, we are still paying less than what we were paying before with our traditional managed voice solution. The monthly fee also includes the annual licensing fees for the Anynode SBC. We used some of our Azure credits for the SBC. Initially we were using for our SIP trunks. We had some issues with them but we now use Nexvortex and have been happy with them. The issues we had with Bandwidth went away with the change in providers.

  4. What gotchas would you care to share?
    We honestly haven’t run into that many issues with our setup. The biggest annoyance is we decided to buy some Yealink wireless phones and we have had to RMA 2 of them and I recently moved a user back to a wired phone due to continued issues she was having. I would probably stick to wired phones. We did wireless at the time because the wired phones were on back order.

  5. What are you doing for faxing?
    We use eFax. This has worked extremely well for us.

You will be happy with the move to Teams voice!