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February 2nd, 2016
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skype for business PSTN conferencingHow Does Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing Compare to Using a Third-Party Dial-in Conferencing Provider?

 

When you are planning to set up Skype for Business dial-in audio conferencing for your Office 365 organization, you will need to look at the advantages and disadvantages of each dial-in conferencing option.

When you might need a third party dial in conferencing provider vs. Microsoft PSTN Conferencing:

  • If you are not on a Office 365 plan that offers Microsoft PSTN conferencing.  3rd party integrated conference call service works with all plans.
  • If you need toll-free access (vs. local toll)
  • If you require dial in access from a country in which Microsoft PSTN Conferencing isn’t available
  • You have a lot of Skype for Business users – There is a threshold where paying a flat $4 per month, per user for MSFT PSTN Conferencing will cost more than paying just for usage with a 3rd party Skype for Business dial in conference call service
  • You would like enhanced features such as a custom branded greeting you will need to use one of the four third-party conference call providers.

NOTE:  What is not in this comparison is quality.  Microsoft is a software company and telephone service is not their core business by any measure.  Once the call hits their network it is delivered via VoIP which impacts quality and reliability.  It also impacts cost, which is why it’s cheap.  The 3rd party audio conference providers deliver telephone audio as their core business.  The service is delivered 100% via traditional phone networks, which provides a much higher quality, but also at a higher price.

Microsoft PSTN Conferencing
Third-Party Audio Conferencing
Provider set up Easy to setup. Most settings are automatic. A few more steps to set up.  But the bulk import option lets the O365 admin import the audio conference details automatically.
Licensing Only available with Enterprise E1, Enterprise E3, or Enterprise E5 Supported with all O365/Skype for Business plans
Management Integrated into the Office 365 admin center. Manual management with third-party provider.
Reset meeting conference PIN Yes Yes
Choose a custom conference PIN No Yes.  For example, users can use their phone # for the conference PIN.
Toll-free dial in numbers No Yes (including international)
Toll domestic telephone numbers Yes, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York City Yes
International toll telephone numbers Yes, limited Yes
International toll-free telephone numbers No Yes, Communique has access from 107 countries
Dial-out / Call-me – Domestic Yes Yes
Dial-out / Call-me – International Yes (requires an international calling plan though.) Yes
Outlook invite automatically populates with dial-in phone numbers and PIN. Yes Yes
Multiple language support Yes Yes
Users listen to music on hold if meeting hasn’t started or if the meeting has been locked Yes Yes
Custom branded greeting for callers? No Yes. e.g., “welcome to the XYZ conference center, please enter your passcode followed by # sign”
Caller entrance/exit notification options No Yes.  Tone, Name announce, name and tone or silence.
Operator assistance during a meeting for help? No Yes

 

Note: In your organization, you can have users that are using Microsoft and a third-party ACP both as the dial-in conferencing providers. Doing this though complicates set up and management of dial-in conferencing.

Click here to learn more about Skype for Business integrated conference call service offered by Communique Conferencing.

 

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