Microsoft Teams has enjoyed a huge boost in popularity in recent months. However, once employees have become used to the simplicity and range of features offered by Teams, the next natural step is asking if Teams can be used for external phone calls to Landlines and Mobiles.

Fortunately, the answer is yes. You can make external calls via your phone system from within Teams using Teams Direct Routing, allowing you to make and receive external calls through the platform. For instance, users get to take advantage of all Teams’ usability features, while businesses do not have to worry about having to manage – and pay for – multiple separate communications systems.

However, when it comes to implementing a connection between your internal Microsoft Teams solutions and the wider phone network, there are a few options to choose from. You can use Microsoft’s calling plans, but these can be costly and complex to manage. A direct routing option is preferable, but there are a few options on how to implement it.

So which option should you choose?

Direct Routing for Teams

For most businesses, the best choice is likely to be using Direct Routing for Teams. This enables firms to connect their Teams for Voice service to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), allowing you to make external calls directly from your Teams interface.

This offers you an easy-to-use solution that keeps all your voice communications under the Teams interface. This means no more need to switch between different applications or use different hardware in order to make internal and external calls. It also offers cheaper calling than a Microsoft-based solution.

As well as adding the usability and features of Teams to your external communications, Direct Routing offers a wide range of other benefits. It comes with a simple pricing structure with a per-user subscription and it’s easy to add new numbers, as well as retain your existing connections. This means it’s straightforward to scale up and add new seats as required.

To achieve this, you’ll need to partner with a Direct Routing provider such as Arrow. We have huge experience assisting firms with VoIP integrations and we are a Microsoft 365 Gold partner, so can help you with any licensing and migration requirements.

PBX integrations for Teams

If you’ve already recently invested in a PBX system, the chances are you’ll be locked into a contract. However, this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the advantages of Teams.

We can also offer a PBX integration service that connects Teams to your existing third-party solution. From an end-user perspective, this will appear functionally identical to a Direct Routing option, as they can manage their communications entirely from within the Teams application. However, behind the scenes, it will connect to your PBX system before making an external call.

This approach also allows you to keep the core functionality of your PBX system, which may be a consideration for businesses running solutions such as contact centres, and it maintains a level of independence from Microsoft, so in the unlikely event there is an outage, you can continue without interruption.

Bespoke Integrations for Teams

Finally, for larger or more complex businesses, we can offer a fully bespoke custom installation that’s tailored to your specific needs. This can be hosted in a cloud environment such as Azure or AWS, or in a location of your choosing, such as an on-premise data centre.

Unlike Direct Routing for Teams options, this is not only charged on a per-user basis and includes hosting fees, support and the installation and management of a Session Border Controller (SBC) solution to provide direct connectivity between the Microsoft 365 environment and the PSTN network.

If you have very specific needs, a customised offering can be a cost-effective way to integrate Teams into your phone system. For example, if you have a large number of lines, but know you will not typically need to make many concurrent calls, a bespoke service can build a solution tailored for this, to prevent you overpaying for services you may not need.

What is the best option for your business?

Whatever route will work best for your business, it pays to consult an expert communications provider before committing to a decision.

With flexible and fully remote working likely to continue for the foreseeable future and become a permanent part of many firms’ strategies, being able to integrate Microsoft Teams for all aspects of your communications will put you in a good position for many years to come.

Get in touch today to learn more about Direct Routing for Teams and how ARO can help your business.