Bring Your Own Carrier “BYOC” solutions have taken the world by storm, driven by the changing demands of an evolving communication landscape, businesses have begun to prioritize more flexible, customizable ways to develop the ultimate UC environment.
Microsoft Teams is one of the pioneers leading the way in this versatile communications space. First, the company offered Direct Routing to bring other carriers into Teams through PowerShell connections. Next, Operator Connect was introduced to simplify the experience for the end-user by allowing them to control their assets within the Teams Admin Center.
Now, as mobile communications grow increasingly popular, Microsoft has also implemented a new addition to the Teams calling platform. Starting to roll out throughout the second half of 2022, Teams Mobile Phone is a fixed-mobile convergence solution, allowing companies to turn their mobile devices into a Teams phone endpoint.
Introducing Teams Mobile Phone
Microsoft announced Teams Mobile Phone as the next phase in the Teams Phone strategy. It provides companies with seamless integration of mobile functionality with Microsoft Teams productivity and collaboration features. As a “first of its kind” fixed-mobile convergence offering, Teams Mobile Phone is device agnostic, intuitive, and designed to be fully enterprise-compliant.
The Teams Mobile Phone experience builds on the foundations of the existing Operator Connect system. This means carriers provide their customers with a managed service, using APIs and back-end connections to bring a native experience into the Teams platform.
Initially, Microsoft started rolling the SIM/eSIM functionality out with a handful of operator partners, such as BT, Swisscom, Verizon, Rogers, and Telia. Going forward, more operators will be introduced as carriers complete their application process for the Operator Connect partnership program.
Notably, the service isn’t the same as a call forward or SIM ring service. The PSTN functionality of the mobile device will be delivered via Teams and the relevant operator. This means both inbound and outbound calls through the mobile phone will route through Teams directly, providing a single call history, voicemail, and presence experience. Microsoft also plans on rolling out SMS features for future Teams Mobile Phone packages.
What are the Benefits of Teams Mobile Phone?
Similar to the standard Operator Connect experience, Teams Mobile Phone provides users with a native Teams communication experience. The system integrates mobile numbers into the Teams infrastructure, so all mobile calls are issued through Teams, with access to all of the productivity, collaboration, and other functions offered by Teams.
Users can set caller identity preferences to conceal personal mobile numbers and showcase work-only profiles. Plus, users can transform audio calls into video calls at the tap of a button, and calls answered on a device can be transferred to a desktop seamlessly. Participants can also access screen sharing, busy features, and high-quality audio.
Vendors involved in the Teams Mobile Phone program will be responsible for managing all of the integrations and API calls in the back-end, reducing the effort involved for the customer. The user’s mobile phone simply rings at the same time as a Teams desktop client, and they can answer using either device and switch between devices at will. The service comes as part of the Teams voice license, so there’s no need for additional software purchases or downloads.
“Microsoft Teams Mobile Phone is a significant opportunity for mobile operators to increase their business customer base and grow net-new subscribers. Anecdotal experience has seen a doubling of business subscribers to an operator where FMC is available. Our Dstny colleague’s have decades of experience in Fixed/Mobile Convergence (FMC) in the Nordics. A fully integrated FMC solution (as Microsoft’s Teams Mobile Phone will be), has seen penetration of mobile-enabled business phone users above 90%; this region is ahead of most of the world for FMC adoption.
The integration overhead for operators of the Microsoft implementation is not trivial. The team at Dstny are using their Operator Connect Accelerator competence, combined with extensive knowledge of the core platforms used within mobile operators, to provide a playbook approach to Teams Mobile Phone onboarding for each of the core platforms (Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei etc.) to help operators directly.”
– Mark Herbert, Head of Partner Innovation, Dstny Automate
Teams Mobile Phone offers a unique opportunity to provide an increasingly mobile, agile, and distributed workforce with mobile calling, which simply works. Some of the most significant benefits of Teams Mobile Phone include:
- Extensive mobile functionality: Thanks to a truly native mobile integration, users get a fully optimized mobile experience, with presence fidelity and voicemail across all native mobile devices and Teams instances.
- Single number simplicity: Users have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere, with a single business number for mobile, desk, and their Microsoft Teams instances. This is crucial for the age of mobile work, and there are no confusing applications or tools.
- Excellent privacy and compliance: Teams Mobile Phone allows organizations to extend the business policies implemented in Teams for privacy, security, and compliance into the mobile environment. This means strategies can be implemented for recording and call retention, and calls can be configured to look like they’re coming from a company.
- Streamlined support: Teams Mobile Phone also allows end-users to consolidate various redundant fixed-line mobile services and reduce the number of new devices and endpoints they need to purchase, support, and manage.
- Excellent Partner opportunities: For Teams Mobile Phone partners, the service provides a new way to expand the functionality service providers can offer their users. This means they can reach a broader range of customers across different business landscapes.
How Will Operators Access Teams Mobile Phone?
Teams Mobile Phone access to partners and vendors will be delivered similarly to the standard Operator Connect program. The technology leverages the “Azure for Operators” environment to allow for deep and native connectivity between the mobile network and the Microsoft cloud. The Azure for Operators environment now offers a “Mobile Control Point” and comes with an enhanced Perimeta Session Border Controller and Managed Service solution.
Of course, like with Microsoft Operator Connect for telephony and conferencing, operators must ensure they have the right strategy to leverage the program and support their users. Vendors must ensure they comply with the API and communication requirements laid out by Microsoft for Operator Connect partners. It will also be crucial to have access to a comprehensive environment for managing connections.