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Communication has never been so significant as millions of businesses move to remote work since 2020. If you have been using Microsoft Teams to communicate with your team daily, you are probably familiar with features like sending messages, doing video conferences or sharing files. Do you know that you could use MS Teams as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) too? Simply put, you could use Teams just like your desk phone, but there are a lot more features and it is much more cost-effective.

Microsoft offers two methods to get your desk phone and the Teams app to work together: Direct Routing and Calling Plan. In this article, we will go through each approach to help you decide which one is the best for your company’s cloud telephone system.


How does a VoIP or Cloud-based phone system work?

A VoIP phone system is similar to a traditional phone system, except all calls and data are stored in the clouds. This means your calls could be forwarded to your staff’s mobile or laptop, and you could save costs when there is less hardware and zero-touch maintenance. We have created an eBook dedicated to VoIP to answer all the questions you might have when you consider upgrading your company’s telephone system, simply follow the link or click the button below to download the eBook:



Microsoft Teams Calling Plan

What is it?

Microsoft Calling Plans are offered directly from Microsoft, which allows your business to add voice calling to your Microsoft 365 plan. Simply put, it is your business phone system in the Teams app. These are available on a per-user-per-month license that gives you a phone number and bundle of minutes to make and receive external phone calls. With these plans, your PSTN carrier is Microsoft, who will sort out the connection from your phone system to the public telephone network. Depending on your requirements, you can select either a Domestic or International Calling Plan.


If you have simple requirements for your business phone system, then using Microsoft Calling Plans is a quick way to get your phone system to the cloud. Following this option could save time researching for a 3rd-party telecoms partner or PSTN carrier since you will be using the service directly from Microsoft.


Although it is straightforward to set up, there are some major limitations you should consider. Check the country list before you choose this option, because if you need to make calls to a country that is not among the 16 countries listed in the plan, you cannot use the service.

Since it is a self-service solution from Microsoft, Calling Plans might not suit you if your company needs more support with your phone system or requires more features like contact centre or compliant recording.

Mind the price as Calling Plans’ costs are not based on how you use it, meaning there could be months your usage is only 50%, you still have to pay 100%. Consider Direct Routing if you want a more flexible option where bundles of minutes could be tailored to your needs so that you are not paying for minutes that you are not using, and the monthly licence cost can be significantly lower.


Microsoft Teams Direct Routing

What is it?

Direct routing is a simple and cost-effective alternative to basic calling plans, allowing the user to make calls to external landlines and mobile phones from Microsoft Teams using SIP trunks. Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams is a phone system in the cloud that provides all the features you expect from a traditional phone system; saving you the time and money you would spend to install and maintain an on-premises phone system.


Unlike Microsoft Calling Plans, Direct Routing gives you the choices of cost-effective bundles and tailors the solution so that it meets your carrier and coverage needs. That often means they’re typically cheaper and more flexible than Microsoft’s limited options. Additionally, Direct Routing is available as a fully managed service in addition to providing basic PSTN connectivity. They will handle porting of existing numbers, and an integration required with other technology solutions such as call centre software or CRM systems.

Cost Saving: Significant cost saving per user when compared to Microsoft’s calling plans.
Access to advanced call statistics: Online access to comprehensive call statistics enables informed business decisions.
Complete clouds solutions: Cloud-based solution with no expensive initial outlay as there’s no need for traditional hardware.
Number Porting: Keep the same geographical number wherever you are.
Never miss a call: Tailored business continuity with network and number level resilience to keep your business working.


It could be more a bit more complex to deploy Direct Routing solutions than Microsoft Calling Plans. Nevertheless, it is a solution made specifically for the telephony requirements of each business, the effort at the beginning will be worthy in the long run as it could save cost significantly and increase the smoothness of collaboration within your company. Choosing the right telecoms partner for Direct Routing is essential as they could help you set up smoothly and support you with any issues that might happen as you go forward.


Horizon for Microsoft Teams

What is it?

Horizon for Microsoft Teams is a VoIP/ Cloud-based telephony solution from Gamma, where the integration of Horizon app from Gamma and Microsoft Teams gives you the full advantages of your existing Microsoft infrastructure with Horizon to support complex business voice requirements, all provisioned within a simple application.

Businesses looking to enable voice within their Microsoft Teams can now use Horizon for Microsoft Teams to make and receive calls globally, and benefit from a feature-rich, cost-effective alternative to Microsoft Calling Plans. Horizon for Microsoft Teams enables your business to use Microsoft’s Teams application as a Horizon endpoint to make and receive telephone calls using Gamma’s Direct Routing capability.

Why consider this?

Business Grade PBX: Horizon offers many call routing settings to ensure the best caller experience. Caller announcements, hunt groups, IVRs and extension twinning are all standard features for Horizon users.

Cost-effective: Save money with better calling bundles vs Microsoft Phone System and Calling Plans (allows you to maximise your existing 365 license cost).

No CAPEX: Cloud-based solution with no expensive initial outlay as there’s no need for traditional hardware.

You’re in control: Horizon Admin users have full control of the system configuration. From call routing to user creation, all this is managed from a simple and initiative web portal.

Simple provisioning: Gamma Voice app enables simple provisioning of Horizon users within Microsoft Teams with no need for PowerShell or any other programming interface. Users can be added to an existing Horizon subscription without impacting on contractual terms.

Flexible working: Allows for remote working and a collaborative approach with availability through desktop and mobile apps as well as web browsers.


So… which one is for my company?

Reading all this and still a bit confused? Don’t worry, we have created this decision tree to help you find the right choice easier:


Have you found your solution yet? There are a lot more about Direct Routing and Horizon for MS Teams that we would love to show you. Get in touch with us on 020 3862 7740 or click the button below to book a FREE demo with us: