Well it’s finally happened. The titans have clashed and finally Microsoft and Telstra have come to an agreement, meaning we can enable our users for PSTN calling without the need to deploy something like an expensive Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) solution. Today they announced that PSTN Calling for Office 365 has arrived in Australia.
What does this mean for you? Well, your transition to Microsoft Teams and Skype4B Online might have just gotten a lot easier if you’re a smaller shop that can’t use a CCE or you don’t want to be tied to a physical location with an on-prem deployment.
There’s still some "gotchas" that we and a few other partners are helping Telstra sort out before the launch in May/June. But until then, here’s some info to help you plan your transition to the cloud.
Note: This article is written on my findings whilst I’m on the Telstra Calling for Office 365 Early Adopter Program at IComm so information here is subject to change. I’ll do my best to keep it up-to-date but you’re always welcome to come in an have a chat.
What do I need to know about Telstra Calling for Office 365?
First, like most things, it works a little differently here in Australia. Unlike in the US, the PSTN carriage will not be included as part of your Office365 subscription, but instead provided by Telstra. This means you will need to add Telstra as a CSP (Cloud Solutions Provider) to your Office365 tenant, so they can add licences and features to your account. This also grants them admin rights to your tenant, so you will want to make sure that from a commercial and compliance point, this is acceptable in your organisation. (More info on CSP rights can be found here.)
The important bits about new PSTN Calling for Office 365
Because of the agreement, Microsoft won’t be selling the “Calling Plan” aka “PSTN Calling” licence as part of your Office 365 subscription like in the rest of the world.
Traditionally you would add a “Calling Plan” licence to an E5 or E3 + Phone System Licence.
But in this case, you will buy the PSTN calling component from your Telstra account manager, or via the Telstra Apps Marketplace.
Telstra will then make Telstra Calling for Office 365 available in your Office365 Licencing portal.
Note: If you’re hybrid, CCE, or OPCH, don’t assign this licence until you’re ready to cut over! It will remove the users number and calls will stop!
After checking with Telstra they have confirmed you will need to purchase your eligible Office365 licences from the Telstra Apps Marketplace unless you are using Microsoft EA licencing. (Nothing in stone re Partner/Action Pack) You will not be able to use CSP licencing from another vendor and assign PSTN Calling for Office365 licences to them.
More info on Office 365 Licencing in regards to Microsoft Phone System can be found here.
Okay, what about pricing for Telstra Calling for Office 365?
Telstra announced there will be 3 different pricing structures, these licences will need to be the same across all users in your tenant.
Standard Calling – $8 Ex Gst Per User / Per Month
This is the plan I think many businesses will go for. It’s similar to traditional ISDN / SIP trunks from Telstra now.
Any enterprise pricing agreement you have with Telstra will stay as is, so if you have special call rates they will come across from your existing trunks. You just pay a per user fee now instead of line rental per trunk.
Essentials Calling – $14 Ex Gst Per User / Per Month
If you’re looking to add unlimited Local and National calls within Australia, this is it.
Does NOT include calls to Mobiles. No word on if your existing enterprise pricing follows you on this plan.
Premium Calling – $18 Ex Gst Per User / Per Month
Same as above, but now includes mobiles as well.
No word yet on whether or not if your existing enterprise pricing follows you on this plan.
Keep in mind that none of the above plans include international calls, these will be billed on a per call basis.
That’s all I have for now. I’ll be posting more on how to configure everything shortly.
This post originally appeared on James' personal blog, Skype4BAdmin.com, here: Telstra Calling For Office 365 Announced on Monday 19 March 2018. IComm Australia is part of the Early Adopter Program and is one of 5 UC Integrators that can properly assist you with your roll-out. Register here for a free demo.