Operator Connect Vs. Calling Plans For Businesses 

Operator Connect Vs. Calling Plans For Businesses  | HelloTeams Global

Who Needs A Business Phone?

As a business owner, you make and receive calls. You might be a small business fielding inquiries infrequently or a large business with a dedicated reception and a whole department making calls daily.  

Where once the phone was a clunky, wired-in object, modern business phones are advanced machines with many features that have made operations easier for many, but even now they are becoming obsolete in the face of innovation. Business owners are always searching for more streamlined ways to manage communications, and the solution is right under their noses: Microsoft Teams as a UCaaS.  

What Is A UCaaS?

Unified communication as a service (UCaaS) is a delivery model that offers a variety of communication and collaboration applications and services. Completely cloud-based, it can be a great step for any business, combining VoIP PBX with the ability to make and receive external PSTN calls. While selecting a platform to be a UCaaS can be a virtual minefield of integration exclusives, you likely already use Teams in your office.  

Why Use Teams?

As the successor to the now-discontinued Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams is used by 270 million people daily. It has outpaced rivals such as Slack and Zoomretaining its users post-pandemic and continuing to build on Microsoft’s workplace success. VoIP functionality is a relatively recent innovation – you can now replace your PBX telephony by choosing either Operator Connect or Microsoft Calling Plan. 

What Is Operator Connect?

Operator Connect was developed as a way to make the benefits of direct routing available to more businesses. It offers a high degree of customisation and cost control by enabling your PSTN carrier (or operator) to manage voice infrastructure like SBCs on your behalf. From a carrier perspective, Operator Connect is much faster and easier to set up, delivering cost savings that make Operator Connect accessible for businesses of all sizes. 

Microsoft only approves Operator Connect providers that meet all the minimum requirements and standards to ensure a high-quality connection, and HelloTeams not only meets these minimums, but exceeds them. Through Operator Connect an organisation can discontinue the use of physical phones while still keeping number provisioning under their control.  

You also have unlimited coverage of your PSTN, so that staff can make calls both domestically and internationally at the applicable rates. It’s the preferred choice for businesses with employees in multiple countries who can make a normal or large number of calls in a day and can be deployed quickly, often yielding noticeable savings.  

What Are Microsoft Calling Plans?

Calling Plans are Microsoft’s solution to PSTN integration for Teams, and they come with their own set of options. Under Calling Plans, Microsoft is your PSTN carrier, and some area coverage restrictions apply. Businesses can choose plans that offer local or international coverage, and two different pay-as-you-go options.  

  • The Domestic Calling Plan enables calls to numbers in the same region as your business. Outgoing minutes are subject to limitations, but incoming minutes are unlimited.  
  • The International Calling Plan includes the above, with the added ability to make calls to international numbers (up to 196 countries/regions)  


The Pay-As-You-Go Calling Plan is split into two zones: Zone 1 (US, Canada, UK, and Puerto Rico) and Zone 2 (Most of the rest of Europe, South Africa and New Zealand) which cover local numbers within the region with unlimited incoming minutes, but no outgoing minutes included. Outgoing calls are charged by the minute and vary between the zones.
 

It is important to note that call minutes are pooled across users, but different plans can be assigned to different users, so your choices will need to accurately reflect the needs of your business. Calling Plans can be practical for smaller businesses that want to offload voice management to Microsoft: setup is quick and easy with one provider and one bill. 

Which One Is Better?

Operator Connect and Calling Plans are two different means to the same end, but one of the biggest differences is the scale and accessibility. Operator Connect, in partnership with HelloTeams, can provide a medium- to large-sized business with the access needed for global communication.  

Microsoft’s Calling Plans, however, may be harder for some businesses to access based on their region and may be better suited to businesses that only make occasional outgoing calls. 

Conclusion

Making Teams your UC platform is simple, but a comprehensive operational assessment is needed to understand which voice option is right for your business. Consider the scale of your organisation, your number of staff, their duties, their hours of operation, and any data you have from your current telecommunications provider regarding your phone usage.  

Smaller businesses may find Microsoft’s Calling Plans sufficient, with its elegant all-in-one approach, but businesses looking to expand or communicate globally at scale will benefit most from an Operator Connect plan.  

Microsoft’s Calling Plans, however, may be harder for some businesses to access based on their region and may be better suited to businesses that only make occasional outgoing calls. 

 

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