Audio Conferencing in Microsoft Teams

By - April 2, 2020

In the current working environment that we are in, we are getting quite a few requests for Microsoft Teams conference bridges. With a Teams license (including Freemium) you can host a meeting, but all participants will be required to use their computer speakers/headphones or cell phone data to join audio. Learn more about Microsoft Teams and Teams Voice.

Who needs audio conferencing?

You only need to set up audio conferencing for users who plan to schedule/lead meetings. Meeting attendees who dial in don’t need licenses assigned to them or any other setup. Conference bridge licensing is minimal for a set of pooled minutes across the organization. Currently, the licensing is $4/user/month and each assigned license receives 60 minutes that are pooled.  If you are expecting your team to call in using their computers and headsets, then no additional licensing is needed.  See the table below for how many minutes an organization would have available.

Audio conferencing is also included in the E5 and M365 E5 plans but can be added to any Microsoft 365 Business plan.

When are these minutes used?

These minutes will only be used if an attendee elects to have the Teams meeting call their device. If they call in or join using computer audio, the pooled minutes will not be used.

Minute usage can be seen in the admin center under reports.  Below is a sample report filtered to only show when a user elected to have a conference call them (conf_out). When this happens, it will draw from the pooled minutes.

Using Communication Credits

We recommend using communication credits to ensure that all meetings will be able to use this important feature. You should begin by using a small funding amount, which for smaller organizations could be a minimum of $50. After reviewing a few months of usage, you can adjust the amounts to reflect normal usage within your organization. Any funds not used within 12 months of the purchase date will expire and be forfeited. To make it even easier, you could enable auto-recharge  to automatically purchase more minutes when a low threshold is met. This would allow for all meetings to function without an issue.

For more information on using communication credits, please visit the Microsoft documentation.

How can you restrict the conference bridge (to save minutes)?

Imagine a user who is using all the minutes because they are having their meeting call their cell phone verses using the headset that you provided them. You can set the users bridge to not allow for calling out. This will restrict any user who joins a meeting hosted with that users’ conference bridge to have to call in or use computer audio.

The steps below outline how to update users’ settings.

 

  1. Navigate to the users’ section within the Teams admin center. Search for the user.
  2. After searching for the user, locate the Audio-conferencing section and edit the properties.

  1. Update the dial-out setting to Don’t allow. This will restrict the ability of a participant in that user’s meeting to use the call me feature.

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