What is Microsoft Operator Connect?


Microsoft will provide a 'simple' way to enable PSTN calls in Teams

What is Microsoft Operator Connect?

Microsoft has announced Operator Connect at Ignite 2021, allowing businesses to directly enable PSTN calling from their existing carriers in Teams.

The service will enter private preview in Q2 with a handful of carriers (or operators, as Microsoft refers to them) who will manage the service: BT, Deutsche Telekom, Intrado, NTT, Nuwave, Orange Business Services, Pure IP, Rogers, Swisscom, TATA, Telenor, and Verizon.

Microsoft said the service is “a new way for customers to simply and quickly enable PSTN calling for Teams, using services from non-Microsoft telephony operators”.

The vendor added that Operator Connect unlocks several benefits:

  • Leverage existing operator contracts: Keep your preferred operator and contracts, while enabling a modern calling experience in Teams
  • Simple and quick to deploy: It can take just minutes to connect to your operator and assign phone numbers to users – all from the Teams Admin Center. You do not need to be an expert in voice to deploy calling to Teams
  • Operator-managed infrastructure: PSTN calling services and Session Border Controllers (SBCs) are managed by operators, saving on hardware purchase and management
  • Enhanced support and reliability: Operators provide tech support and shared service level agreements to improve support service, while direct peering powered by Azure creates a 1:1 network connection for enhanced reliability

Microsoft said the service is simple to use, with admins able to open the “Operators” tab in Teams Admin Center, which will present a list of the carriers available for selection.

Admins can then select their preferred provider and acquire phone numbers from the carrier.

Microsoft also announced Operator Connect Conferencing which adds the ability to bring PSTN numbers into PSTN conferencing.

This comes with another set of benefits for customers:

  • Bring your own operator for conferencing, for operators participating in the programme: Maintain your preferred operator contracts as you migrate existing PSTN infrastructure to the cloud
  • Variety of operators available at your fingertips: Diversify your PSTN infrastructure to include additional qualified operators
  • Expanded geographic dial-in coverage: Additional dial-in locations available to support your multi-national needs
  • Enhanced support and reliability: The tight partnership with operators provides enhanced technical support and service level agreements to address reliability

Operator Connect Conferencing will also enter private preview next quarter with initial partners BT, Deutsche Telekom, Intrado, NTT, Orange Business Services and Telenor.

Calling Expansion

Adding to the Operator Connect news, Microsoft revealed that Teams Calling Plans will be expanded to eight new markets, starting in April and completing by the end of June.

These markets are New Zealand, Singapore, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Norway, and Slovakia.

Teams Calling plans will be available in 26 markets globally by the time this latest rollout is completed.

 

 


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