Microsoft Teams Voice dumpster fire

I have been working on a Microsoft Teams Voice installation for over a year. It’s been grueling getting people in this building to make a decision but they finally did and our Microsoft Partner started the process.

The facts

  • I have 92 DID numbers.
  • In the past 5 years, the most calling minutes consumed has been 21,000 (in 2018)
  • We currently have a UCX system from e-metrotel. It is based on the nortel software. We’ve been using this system for 5 years and nortel before that for 12…so 17 years of the nortel system.

Microsoft has 2 voice licenses

  • Teams Phone with Calling Plan (comes with 3000 minutes per person per month)
  • Standard (no minutes but you can leach off the Teams Phone with Calling Plan.

Our network consultants advised us to get 7 calling plan licenses and 87 standard licenses.
10 months later the project is approved and I “get” to squeeze the project in before Thanksgiving.

Fast forward to Monday night when the consultant tries to assign the first DID number to our “Standard” license holders. He can’t do it. He tries every trick in his considerable bag but nothing works.

He opens a ticket. Microsoft works with him for hours confirming that what we want to do will work. The support guy says all of their documentation says it will work.

Parallel to this, I am working with Microsoft Education who is providing the Microsoft Teams training (meetings plus voice). I consult with them on the issue. Everything in THEIR documentation says it will work.

Well, it doesn’t. The support guy calls our consultant last night to give him the bad news. But, since he is a third party support vendor, he can’t tell us WHY it won’t work He also can’t tell us why the documentation says it will work. AND he can’t tell us what in the world the purpose of the standard licenses are if you can’t assign a number to it.

Our only options are

  1. assign all 92 people calling plan licenses which will jump the cost of the project from less than $5k to over $12k. (The $12k number is already what we are paying for dial tone so if we hadn’t just passed the 2023 budget I would be less concerned but finding $7,000 extra after it’s been absorbed by other projects isn’t going to be possible.)

  2. take DID away from everyone and use attendants. (Mind you DID numbers are on all of our flyers, all over our website and on letterhead.)

We have to get a new phone system, Our UCX is no longer supported and we’ve been using it for 12 months with no software or hardware support. Teams WAS coming in at less than that of the next closest phone system…another on-premise piece of equipment I was hoping to avoid from a company that gives me bad vibes (skeevy salesman, no local presence, tried to go around me through other people, offering me free phones which feels like I’m going to “pay” in other ways.)

I get to have a discussion with the network consultant this morning and then I get to break the bad news to my boss’s boss today.

This is killing me. It’s been a horrible year due to another tough project where a vendor over-sold and I’ve had to bear the brunt of the decision. I’ve gone from a job I absolutely love where I was respected (if not always liked) to receiving nasty email and sometimes screaming phone calls all day from everywhere. I don’t know how much of this I can take. I’m starting to feel numb inside and yet angry all the time. There is this old guy that is difficult and loud and everyone hates him. When I see him act that way in meetings I think “that’s how I feel inside.” I’m tired of looking like a fool. I’m tired of breaking into a sweat when the phone rings or I see certain people in my inbox. I’m tired of the havoc all of this stress has done to my body and mind. I’m tired of my reputation being bounced around.

Anyway, do any of you have any ideas. Are there any miracles. Someone thought a Session Border Controller could help. I have no idea what that is.

You’ve been misinformed unfortunately, the Standard Teams Phone licenses are intended for use with Direct Routing where you bring your own telecom/dial tone service. If you’re pure Teams, they all need the Calling Plan, but at your size you will likely find significant savings by buying some SIP trunks or minutes and using the Standard licensing to get the phone feature connected to the provider’s dialtone instead of paying for a Calling Plan for every user, though either (but not both) will work.

BEMA and Enable both do this on the regular and can likely assist with getting you up and running from where you’re at now with the least expense.

Echoing with David said. I feel for ya. You’re in a bad space and your consultant clearly doesn’t know teams voice at all as this is a very straightforward and common project. Not knowing the difference between the 2 licenses is a huge red flag!
I don’t know if you can fire your consultant at this stage, but I’d drop them and call Enable and/or BEMA immediately. They do this project for churches all the time. You want someone that done this so many times they can do it in their sleep.

I pay $3.20 per teams standard phone license for each staff member that gets/needs a DID. (70ish peeps)
It was $1000 to buy an anynode SBC license with $200ish yearly renewal. I contracted Enable to install/config anynode in an azure VM to take advantage of the free $3500 azure credit Microsoft gives NPO’s. So there’s no cost to “running” the VM in azure.
We use nexvortex as our SIP/VOIP/phone provider. Each DID from them is $1/mo and my monthly phone bill is $400ish.

You could do it all inside the O365 admin portal and not need an SBC or regular phone service at all, but as David said, it’ll cost more as each Teams Calling plan license is $11.20/user. The beauty here is it’s all under one umbrella and pretty easy to manage…you just pay for the easy of use :slightly_smiling_face:

Hang in there! I’d also really encourage you to hop on our discord server where you can get more real-time feedback on your questions. Church IT Network - CITN
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I’m not ready to fire my guy since Microsoft specifically told him it would work. AND that was confirmed by Microsoft Education. It was only when Microsoft Education elevated the call to engineering that everyone learned the truth. It seems we have to decide if we want to keep our provider or go with Teams. It’s a wash. They both cost the same.

Jason, you’re using the same $3.2 standard license I’m trying to use with DID. If it’s working for you is that because you are using your own equipment & provider?

There are a lot of good ways to accomplish what you are after. MBS provide an option where we provide your SBC. Our prices are exclusive to churches and ministries.

Teams does require a DID per extension. MBS could provide this for:

92 extensions ($100 base fee, $1.80 per extension over 5) = $256.60
92 DID numbers ($2 per DID) = $184
92 Microsoft Teams Standard phone licenses ($3.20 per) = $294.40

Monthly total for 92 extensions (unlimited usage including international calling) = $735

If you’d like to know more, please let me know.