Microsoft Operator Connect Review – Ready to Go Connectivity

Rebekah Carter

Flexible, ready-to-go direct routing for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Reviews
Microsoft Operator Connect Review – Ready to Go Connectivity

Part of what makes Microsoft Teams such a compelling choice in the UCaaS landscape, is its flexibility, and extensibility. Though Microsoft’s team is always willing to innovate in the latest tools and technology for users, the company also knows when play nicely with other brands. 

Microsoft Teams direct routing was one of the first examples of Microsoft’s commitment to providing companies with flexibility as they moved communications into the cloud. With direct routing, organisations could maintain relationships with their existing communication providers, while leveraging the benefits of Microsoft Teams as a central collaboration hub.

Now, Operator Connect offers another alternative for those who’d prefer to choose their own communication strategy. The Operator Connect solution in the Teams Operator Console allows users to directly configure calling services from a host of top providers, like BT, T-Mobile, Verizon, and more. Here’s what you need to know about Operator Connect.

What is Microsoft Teams Operator Connect?

Operator Connect is an operator manged service for bringing PTSN calling to teams. With Direct Routing, companies work with their communications vendor to create connections through a code-focused strategy, using tools like Microsoft PowerShell. With Operator Connect, there’s no need for any prior coding or telephony knowledge. 

Operators approved by Microsoft Teams handle all the technical aspects of connecting the PSTN to Microsoft Teams on your behalf, so you can control everything within your Microsoft Teams admin portal. Assigning numbers to users and setting up permissions is as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Notably, with Operator Connect, you are limited to using the platforms approved by Microsoft’s Operator Directory, however there are a large number of vendors to choose from, including:

  • AT&T
  • BT
  • CallTower
  • Gamma
  • Colt
  • Deutsche Telekom
  • Intrado
  • Liquid
  • Nuwave
  • NTT
  • Orange Business Service
  • Pure IP
  • Proximus
  • Singtel
  • Swisscom
  • Telenor
  • Telstra
  • Verizon

The number of operators available through Microsoft Operator Connect is increasing all the time as new companies make their way into the partner roadmap. Notably, while some operators only offer “calling” others offer a combination of calling and conferencing functionality. 

Microsoft Operator Connect Review: Features

Operator Connect is very similar in a lot of ways to Direct Routing. Both solutions allow companies to connect their MS Teams environment to the PSTN space. However, Operator Connect minimises the complexity associated with direct routing. 

Operator Connect partners all receive direct peering between the Teams platform and SIP trunking environment, to allow for an exceptional level of reliability. 

With operator connect, you can choose your own PSTN carrier for Microsoft Teams, similar to direct routing. Companies can access a fully managed service through Operator Connect, where IT groups gain access to an admin environment for provisioning numbers and technology. Features include:

  • Programmatic operator-provided calling features
  • Microsoft Azure Peering Service for voice
  • Operator admin management in Teams admin centre
  • Provisioning via APIs (for easy automation)
  • Complete call detail records and call quality dashboard
  • Operator Tier 1 support
  • Dedicated management capabilities in API or operator portal
  • Comprehensive as-a-service communication experience

Rather than having to implement a direct routing solution with SBCs and PowerShell commands, Operator Connect allows companies to access as-a-service telephony within the Microsoft ecosystem. The setup is quick and simple, so operators can get companies up and running in minutes.

For partners, Operator Connect allows for quick and simple scaling of a direct routing service, so vendors can deliver pure, cloud-managed solutions to customers. For end-users, the operator connect offering means businesses can get a simple programmatic solution for operator-provided calling, with access to all kinds of unique features through APIs.

Microsoft Operator Connect Conferencing Features

Additionally, Operator Connect partners will have the option to add “conferencing” to their toolkit. This new service will allow operators to offer the same administrator interface as Operator Connect, but with access to operator dial-in numbers within a Microsoft Conferencing bridge.

The Operator Connect Conferencing solution is another operator-managed service providing similar benefits to the full Operator Connect service, users will be able to:

  • Bring their own operator into conferencing: Maintain your preferred operator contacts with operators participating in the Operator Connect program.
  • Diversify your PSTN: Microsoft will offer a range of operators to choose from, so you can diversify your PSTN infrastructure however you choose.
  • Expand geographic coverage: Access additional dial-in locations for multi-national needs.
  • Access enhanced support and reliability: Exceptional technical support and service level agreements are included as standard. 

The Operator Connect Conferencing solution is now on offer from a range of leading communications providers, including Intrado, BT, Deustche Telekom, Orange Business Services and Telenor. 

Microsoft Operator Connect Benefits

Microsoft Operator Connect essentially takes the already-popular direct routing solution for Microsoft Teams to the next level, by removing the need for Powershell complications and SBC management. There’s no need for any additional infrastructure, because the Microsoft Phone System service provides the PBX service. The solution is fully hosted by Microsoft and the service provider partners. Microsoft also works closely with its telephony providers to supply technical support with SLA promises, and assistance. Benefits include:

Choose your own operator: Like with Microsoft direct routing, you get the option to bring your own operator into your Microsoft Teams strategy. This makes it easier to maintain existing operator contracts and relationships, while centralising communication in Teams. There are plenty of high-level vendors to choose from already, including Deutsche Telekom, Pure IP, Telenor, and many others

  • Secure, reliable communications: Microsoft peers directly with providers for access to Azure data centres, providing a consistent, reliable, and resilient experience. You get access to technical support and shared SLAs from within the Microsoft ecosystem, and every partner is held to the highest quality standards for security, privacy, and compliance
  • Simplicity: Operator Connect can eliminate the headache of having to manage your numbers and connections with PowerShell. There’s far less technical confusion to worry about, so you can reduce provisioning time and the number of management resources you need to invest in. Even activating and deactivating users in Operator connect is much easier, thanks to a portal within the Microsoft Teams interface
  • Reduce costs: With Operator Connect, you can significantly reduce the amount you spend on infrastructure and management costs. You’ll spend significantly less money on purchasing, maintaining and management equipment. If you’re already working with a Microsoft Operator Connect partner, you might be able to access special pricing deals and bundles designed to reward your loyalty
  • Flexibility: Microsoft Teams Operator Connect ensures you can build the perfect communication system for your needs, with no limitations. In some situations, you can even mix-and-match your operator connect solution with direct routing, to help you get the best of both worlds. A versatile open environment and access to APIs makes it easier to build custom solutions for all companies

Who Needs Microsoft Operator Connect?

If you’re looking for an easy way to enhance your communication strategy by moving your entire ecosystem into Microsoft Teams, Operator Connect is a great solution. You can access the flexible and scalable calling plans that are right for you, without being restricted by Microsoft’s own calling plans. What’s more, you get to maintain your existing provider, and any benefits that come with them.

Operator Connect gives you the opportunity to access flexible Microsoft Teams UCaaS like never before. Going far beyond the basics of direct routing, Microsoft Operating Connect makes accessing amazing communication features quick and easy, with support for fully managed services from your preferred vendor. High-quality security, amazing reliability, and access to data sharing APIs means there’s no limitations to your digital transformation strategy.

With a wide range of operator providers already signed up for Microsoft’s partnership program, there’s nothing stopping today’s companies from discovering the enhanced reliability, reduced costs, and simplified management of an Operator Connect ecosystem.

Microsoft is also experimenting with new ways to expand the Operator Connect ecosystem. Recently, the company introduced the “Managed SBC” by MetaSwitch solution – a new service built into the Microsoft-certified Perimeta SBC to fulfil the operator-hosted, multi-tenant requirement for SBC operators in Operator Connect. 

The solution addresses everything from scaling, and configuration, to provisioning and operations functions, supported via a dedicated virtual centre for network operations with 24/7 support. 

Microsoft Operator Connect: Verdict

Microsoft Operator Connect is the ultimate solution for companies keen to access Microsoft UCaaS, without being restricted by the Microsoft Business Phone system plans. If you want to bring all of your communication and collaboration requirements into Microsoft, but you don’t want to deal with your own SBCs, or managing technology on your site, Operator Connect is the tool for you.

With Operator Connect, Microsoft Teams customers can get a fully managed service, where all the complicated stuff is handled for them. This means you can focus on building your business with access to some of the best communication and collaboration functionality in the world.



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