The Difference Between Microsoft 365 Phone System and Microsoft 365 Business Voice

According to Forbes, “With traditional business phone systems, the phone itself is the most disconnected element of the communication chain. It’s the analog element in a sea of digital, so it’s harder to work phone calls into communication paper trails.”

If you haven’t heard, softphones and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) completely change the game. The best part is that these systems integrate with your already existing applications. 

Microsoft VoIP solutions seamlessly integrate with your Microsoft technologies to streamline communication between team members and customers. Now, let’s dive into the main differences between Microsoft 365 Phone System and Microsoft 365 Business Voice to help you decide which would work best for your organization.

Microsoft 365 Phone System

Microsoft 365 Phone System is the enterprise version of a cloud-based telephony system. Customers need to purchase the following to take advantage of this system:

  • Microsoft Voice License: This license is required to enable voice capabilities on one of the 365 plans. 
  • Calling Plan: Making calls requires a calling plan. Customers can purchase either a domestic plan, an international plan, or both.

This calling system is not available as a standalone product and customers must have an Microsoft 365 E5 plan. The enterprise plans are essentially a set of features grouped by plan as follows:

  • E1 — The most basic plan that includes email, calendars, team sites, and enterprise social with Yammer.
  • E3 — Includes everything in E1 plus MS Office Suite, cross-platform installation, cloud storage, and data loss prevention.
  • E5 — Includes everything in E1 and E3 with several advanced features, such as encryption control, threat protection, and analytics.

Microsoft 365 Business Voice

This plan is optimal for small and medium-sized businesses. The product is a slimmed-down package that bundles three licenses needed for voice capabilities. The requirements for a Microsoft 365 Business Voice plan include:

  • Phone System License: This license handles call routing, processing, call queues, and voicemail.
  • Audio Conferencing Plan: With this plan, companies can allow callers to join a conference by dialing in via telephone.
  • Domestic Calling Plan: A domestic calling plan includes voicemail, caller id, call forwarding, and 3,000 minutes per user/month within the US and Canada.

Microsoft 365 Phone System Included Features

Microsoft 365 Phone System features a host of robust features suitable for enterprise use in addition to standard inclusions. These features include:

  • The ability to purchase an unlimited number of user licenses
  • Phone System
  • Caller ID
  • Voicemail
  • Call Menus
  • Shared Lines
  • Emergency Calling
  • Domestic Calling
  • Free calls within the country or region
  • Audio Conferencing
  • Host conference calls with non-Teams users
  • Host conference calls with non-internet users

Additional Features:

  • Auto-attendant
  • Contact center integration
  • Cloud voicemail
  • MS Teams-certified devices
  • Call queues
  • Cloud compliance recording
  • Direct routing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Operator connect

Microsoft 365 Business Voice Included Features

Microsoft 365 Business Voice is a more concise package that bundles the three licenses needed for voice capabilities. It shares similar features to Microsoft 365 Phone System, but it caps user licenses at 300.

Cost Difference Between Microsoft 365 Phone System and Business Voice

Both plans require an annual subscription that auto-renews. The business version costs roughly $15 per user/month, and the enterprise version costs roughly $60 per user/month.

The difference between Microsoft Phone System and Microsoft Business Voice comes down to features and functionality. Companies looking for an enterprise-level solution with advanced calling and security features will benefit from the enterprise phone plan. Smaller and mid-sized businesses that don’t require as many features will find that the standard MS voice plan suits their needs.

Managing Microsoft 365 Business Voice

AxiaTP is a Silver Microsoft Partner and is well-equipped to manage the powerful, cloud-based Microsoft 365 Business Voice. The AxiaTP team can manage your adoption of either product, and then monitor and manage it ongoing for your team.

Contact us to learn more about Microsoft 365 Business Voice!