Microsoft Teams Calling Plans vs Direct Routing: Which is the Best for my Business?

Microsoft Teams—the app used by more than 250 million people, has become the best option to integrate collaboration and communications systems in a single environment. If leveraging Microsoft Phone System is the next step in your company’s unified communications journey, you may be wondering which option is best for your business. There are two options to add voice PBX capabilities into MS Teams: Microsoft Calling Plans or Direct Routing. Let’s take a closer look at the main benefits and disadvantages of each option.

What is Microsoft Calling Plans?

MS Calling Plans are offered by Microsoft and allow businesses to include phone numbers and a bundle of minutes to their Microsoft 365 plans. This native solution is acquired on a per-user license and supported directly by Microsoft without an additional PSTN carrier.

There are 2 Calling Plans options available in 196 countries:

  • Domestic Calling Plan: Licensed users can call out to numbers located in the country/region where they are assigned in Microsoft 365 or Office 365.
  • Domestic and International Calling Plan: Licensed users can call out to numbers located in the country/region where their Microsoft 365 or Office 365 license is assigned to the user based on the user’s location, and to international numbers in 196 countries/regions.

Microsoft Calling Plans Benefits

For small businesses this is the easiest way to get started with cloud-based telephony without searching for a third-party provider.


As Calling Plans are a straightforward solution to deploy cloud-based phones, companies will face some limitations and disadvantages as well. For example, you will not be able to customize or extend Teams voice capabilities. Moreover, the monthly license cost of Calling Plans is high compared with the flexibility offered by Direct Routing. See plans and pricing here.

Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams

The best option for organizations with more than 20 employees and needs that go beyond basic telephony features.

Team Venti’s Direct Routing plans offer a cost-effective and non-commitment alternative to Microsoft Calling Plans so, our client organizations enjoy benefits such as:

  • Enterprise-class carrier support that delivers higher availability. Available critical support featuring 30-minute response SLA
  • Advanced failover capabilities in the event of Teams or Microsoft Cloud outages
  • A flexible pricing model based on volume featuring pay as you go as well as term discounts (as low as $6.50/mo)
  • Possibility of extending Teams capabilities with custom features. Such as: call analytics, CDR (Call Detail Records), multichannel contact center, and call recording



Direct Routing Solutions are more complex to leverage than Microsoft Calling Plans, but this depends on the requirements of each business. We recommend that you compare potential providers’ capabilities and reliability. Some providers have a better optimized carrier back-end than others.

The best option depends on your business’ size and requirements. If you are ready to take the next step on the path of unified communications, contact us today. Our UC specialists can help you deploy Microsoft Teams Voice with a custom migration plan and optimized quotes.