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Direct Routing vs. Microsoft Calling Plans

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

Direct routing vs calling plans

With more than 40% of employees working from home, companies are now focusing on multi-collaborative applications to keep their employees engaged and enhance productivity. Launched in 2017, Microsoft Teams is used by 91 Fortune 100 companies. This chat-based platform allows users to collaborate on files with built-in 365 applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and eliminates the pain of switching between applications. However, although Microsoft offers many features, it lacks a flexible way of making voice calls to regular phones. In today's blog, we brought you the ways of enabling voice calling and its features.

Voice Calling in Microsoft Teams:

There are two ways to enable voice calling in Microsoft Teams. They are:

  1. Calling plans for Microsoft Teams

  2. Direct routing with a third-party provider

Let's first delve deeper into what Microsoft calling plans are.

Calling plans for Microsoft Teams

What are Microsoft calling plans?

Microsoft offers calling plans as a per-user license. They bundle up several minutes and a phone number for users. Microsoft acts as a telephony carrier, and all service is provided directly from Microsoft.

How to subscribe to calling plans for Teams?

Businesses that already have Microsoft 365 licenses can subscribe to the additional licenses bundled together under a single name called Microsoft business voice. This license enables companies to make and receive calls. With this method, Microsoft takes care of all phone number management and billing.

Types of calling plans:

Microsoft calling plans are subdivided into two types:

  1. Domestic calling plans – Capability to make only domestic calls where the license is issued. For example, a domestic calling plan licensed in the USA can make calls to only USA numbers.

  2. Domestic and International calling plans – Capability to make both domestic and international calls. For example, the calling plan licensed under this method can make calls to any number located in 196 countries. Check here for the list of countries here:

Now we have seen what Microsoft calling plans are and how businesses can subscribe to them. Next, let us explore what direct routing is.

Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams

What is direct routing?

Direct routing for Teams connects the Microsoft phone system to the public telephony network by sourcing a SIP trunk or using a managed service provider like Falkon VoIP for an end-to-end solution.

How to subscribe for direct routing?

Managed service providers handle your organization's requirements by procuring proper licenses and configure Session Border Controllers (SBC) to route calls from the Microsoft phone system to the public telephony network.

Now we have a fair idea about calling plans and direct routing. While the service offered by the two methods is the same for an end-user, there are certain limitations for calling plans, so direct routing is a go-to option for most enterprises. First, let us see why direct routing is the most preferred option.

Why direct routing?

Direct routing offers customization, flexibility, and cost-effective plans for making calls to domestic and international numbers. Let us explore each feature and see what makes direct routing a favorable choice for many enterprises.

  1. Availability: Microsoft calling plans are available in 16 countries. Organizations located only in those 16 countries are eligible for buying calling plans. Whereas direct routing is available worldwide. All you need is to have a third-party managed service provider like Falkon VoIP to enable direct routing for you.

  2. Cost structure: MS calling plans offer you a fixed number of domestic and international minutes above which users need to pay per minute, typically under-utilizing the resources. But for direct routing, you only pay for what you use.

  3. Customization: Many organizations feel that the calling plans are sub-optimal or not up-to-mark. On the other hand, managed service providers who do direct routing often offer customizable plans for organizations that can potentially weigh down unnecessary costs on their income statement.

  4. Implementation: Organizations need to understand the nitty-gritty of the license requirements to enable voice calling using Microsoft calling plans which make the task time-consuming. With direct routing, the implementation is simpler and faster since the managed service provider will take care of the back-end work.

  5. Customer support: Microsoft calling plans offers limited support with long queues and rerouting, which can be a tiresome task for any IT team in an organization. Managed service providers like Falkon VoIP offer 24/7 dedicated customer support since the only aim of service providers is to provide barrier-less free flow of communication.

Direct routing vs. Calling plans

A short comparison table to understand the key differences between the two:

Microsoft Calling Plans

Falkon VoIP Direct Routing

No calling plans with unlimited voice

Unlimited calling voice minutes

Available in 16 countries

Better global coverage

No SMS support is provided

Modern business texting capabilities

Limited support: Queues & rerouting

24/7dedicated support for queries

Reliant on Microsoft 365 cloud

SBA support for cloud outages

After analyzing all the features, it's better to consider direct routing for your needs because of its availability, flexible nature, cost-effective, and unlimited calling plans tied with superior customer support.


After a brief introduction to the ways of enabling voice calling in Microsoft teams i.e., Calling plans offered by Microsoft and direct routing offered by third party managed service providers, we discussed about how an enterprise can subscribe to these options and enhance their productivity.

The analysis of the features of both ways in the latter half revealed how direct routing offers much more flexibility and customization with cost-effective plans tied with superior customer support. Enterprises have started moving towards direct routing for Microsoft Teams as the market grows to understand its benefits over Microsoft calling plans.

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