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Audio conferencing in Microsoft Teams offers the opportunity to join and participate in Teams meetings via a dial-in by using your phone. You won’t need to use an app if audio conferencing is properly set up for the people who schedule or lead meetings. Many organisations prefer using Microsoft Teams audio conferencing to attend online meetings.
Typically, people can attend meetings via Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams installed on their devices. However, they can join from anywhere without downloading the app and signing up with the audio conferencing options.
This option is beneficial for people who are out of the office or on the road, have limited Internet access or find dial in a more convenient way of connecting. But if you want to make use of this functionality, you first need to learn how to set up audio conferencing for Microsoft Teams correctly.
Audio conferencing for small and medium businesses
Small and medium businesses do not always have the resources to invest in an audio conferencing solution. That’s why Microsoft offers audio conferencing free of charge for one year. This option is available for organisations with up to 300 users who haven’t purchased any audio conferencing licenses.
If you have Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard, Premium, Enterprise E1 or E3 license, you can purchase an additional audio conferencing add-on license. Keep in mind that Enterprise E5 and Microsoft 365 Business Voice plans already include audio conferencing, so you won’t be able to use the free license.
Set up audio conferencing
As mentioned above, audio conferencing allows you and other people to attend a Microsoft Teams meeting by using a dial-in phone. This requires you to go through a setup process, which needs to be done only for people who will schedule and lead meetings, not for regular attendees.
To complete the setup, you need to go through several steps. After a successful configuration, a toll number will be assigned as a default number to your audio conferencing bridge (a way for multiple people to join a meeting). The phone number will be from your organisation’s country, and you can use it in meeting invitations. We will discuss toll-free numbers later in the article.
Step 1: Get audio conferencing licenses
The first step of setting up your audio conferencing is to get a license. To do this, you can go to the Microsoft admin centre. You need a license for each person who will lead meetings. Meeting attendees are not required to have one.
Navigate to the admin centre and go to “Billing”. After that, select “Purchase services” and then “Add-ons”. Click on “Microsoft 365 Audio Conferencing Adoption Promo” and then “Details” in the new window. After you click on “Get now”, the system will require you to submit the number of licenses you need (or how many people will lead your meetings). After you enter the number, complete the order.
Step 2: Assign an audio conferencing license to users who lead meetings
Upon completion of your audio conferencing license purchase, you will be asked if you want the licenses to be automatically assigned to people within your organisation who do not own one. Select the box if you wish so. Another option for giving permissions to users who will lead meetings is to leave this box unchecked. Later on, you can also navigate to the admin centre.
Assign a license to one user
If you want to assign a license to a single user, go to the Admin Centre – Users – Active users. Scroll down to choose the user you wish to set, select “Licenses and Apps”, then “Audio Conferencing”, and save your changes.
Assign a license to multiple users
If you want to assign a license to more than one user, the process is similar. Navigate to the admin centre, and go to Users – Active users. Select all the users of your choice and click on “Manage Product Licenses”. Go to “Assign more” in the new pane and select the audio conferencing check box. After saving your changes, the licenses will be successfully assigned.
Audio conferencing phone numbers
Audio conferencing involves conference bridges that participants can access via two phone numbers: shared and dedicated. These numbers are also called dial-in conferencing numbers. Meeting attendees can use both types of numbers to join a meeting. However, they have some differences that you need to consider.
Shared dial-in numbers are toll numbers that can be shared across multiple organisations. They are the same ones that Microsoft automatically assigns you when you finish the audio conferencing setup. If you use these numbers, you cannot make a language change when someone calls.
Go to the Microsoft Teams admin centre – Meetings – Conference bridges to find the default number assigned to your conferencing bridge.
Opposite to shared numbers, dedicated numbers are toll or toll-free and available only to your organisation and its registered users. If you prefer a dedicated number, first, you need to get a service phone number, assign it to your conferencing bridge and assign it to each meeting leader.
How do conferencing bridges work?
Conferencing bridges allow multiple participants to join a meeting via an app, web browser or dial-in number. If a person dials the number, the conferencing bridge answers the call and can use a voice prompt, play notification, etc.
However, it’s not necessary to have a single dial-in number. You can have multiple numbers, but set only one that you will include in your Skype and Microsoft Teams meeting invites. People who want to join your meetings can use any assigned numbers and find them by using the “Find a local number” link. You can additionally adjust conferencing bridge settings and phone numbers.
How do you get dedicated phone numbers?
Dedicated phone numbers are toll or toll-free service numbers that can be assigned to users from additional cities for dial-in meetings. Keep in mind that they are available only in some countries/regions.
Navigate to “Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans” to check availability. You can get them in a few different ways, including using the Skype for Business admin centre, porting your existing numbers and using a request form for new numbers.
Depending on the country or region you are located in, you can use the Skype for Business admin centre to get a service number. Another way is to transfer phone numbers from your phone carrier to Microsoft 365. The third way involves downloading, filling out and sending a request form for new numbers.
How do you assign the number to your conference bridge?
After you get your service numbers for accessing the conference bridge, you’ll need to assign them so participants can receive them in their invitations.
To do so:
- Navigate to the Microsoft Teams app and the admin centre.
- Go to Meetings – Conference bridges and click on “Add” to select a toll or toll-free phone number. You will see a panel with an “Add phone” option where you need to choose the correct number and click on “Apply”.
- Remember to assign the numbers only to the people who schedule and lead your Microsoft conference meetings.