Microsoft Teams Exploratory License: What It Is and How You Can Get It

Screen shot from the MS Teams Exploratory Trial Mangement page displaying all the pertinent data and metrics related to your trial.
The Microsoft Teams Exploratory Trial page. (Source: Microsoft)

Do you use Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) at your organization? If you answered yes, you’ve struck a pot of gold. You’re entitled to a free 12-month Microsoft Teams exploratory license! This license is a valuable asset, giving you insights into many different Microsoft services. Who can say no to free stuff? However, if you already have a Teams license, you aren’t eligible for this 12-month trial.

In this article, I’ll cover what the Microsoft Teams exploratory license is, how to use it, and what to do when it ends. Let’s begin with a brief overview!

What Is the Microsoft Teams Exploratory License?

Microsoft has many great products and services that seamlessly integrate with each other. If your organization is using Azure AD, then this license is a trial to let you see how well these services could work for you and your organization. Take a look at these services:

Services Included in the Microsoft Teams Exploratory License

You have many great services out there that can integrate well into your organization. For example, Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular communication apps. This app is the star in the exploratory license field because it integrates so well into your work environment. 

Here’s a sneak peek into some of the services included in the license:

Image of the services included in the Microsoft Teams exploratory license.
Microsoft Teams exploratory license is quite generous!

After looking at the offerings, I’m sure you want to sign up right away! Look no further than the next section!

Signing Up for the Microsoft Teams Exploratory License

Microsoft made it easy to get started! Simply sign in to MS Teams with your Azure AD credentials. Then, Microsoft will automatically assign you a Microsoft Teams exploratory license after you log in. 

Your administrator will receive an email notification about this. Still, it’s a good idea to bring this up with them ahead of time. Furthermore, let the top management know as well, so they can decide whether they want to test this license for the entire organization or a single department. However, Microsoft did make it possible for any individual user to sign up.

Finally, like any free trial, you’re not going to get all the bells and whistles. In the next section, I’ll show you the differences between the two versions.

Microsoft Teams Exploratory License: Free Version vs Paid Version

In the table below, you can see the differences between both versions. The trial version is much lighter than the full version, but it’s still enough to see if you like it. 

FeatureFully Licensed Version Exploratory Licensed Version 
Maximum Number of MembersUnlimited with Enterprise versionUp to 300 
Storage1TB per user2GB per user 
Scheduled Teams MeetingsYes, MS exchange calendar integration Basic
Meeting RecordingYes, with MS StreamNo
Admin Tools for Users and Apps ManagementYesNo 
Configurable Settings and PoliciesYesNo 
MS 365 Usage ReportsYesNo
Educate yourself on the two versions’ differences!

If you decide to pull the trigger and get the full version, simply:

  1. Go to your Microsoft 365 Admin Center
  2. Click Billing and Subscriptions
  3. Click that you want the full version
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts

Remember that you get a 30-day grace period after the initial 12-month trial expires. Use this time to back up your files. Don’t wait too long, because 30 days after the grace period ends, you can lose all your data.

The Bottom Line 

Exploratory licenses exist for a reason. They let you try out the services and products for a while to see if you like them. Microsoft is very generous with its 12-month license, which comes with many features. You have plenty of time to get a feel for each service before deciding to purchase the full version. 

The exploratory license will allow your team and organization to decide, with a generous usage period, if any one of these services is right for you.

Do you have questions about the Microsoft Teams Exploratory License? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!

FAQ

How long does the Microsoft Teams exploratory license last?

It lasts for 12 months! You have plenty of time to go through each of the services on offer to get a taste of all of them. After the trial expires, you can also go for the full premium version. It all depends on how good your experience was.

Who’s eligible and ineligible for the Microsoft Teams exploratory license?

You may be eligible for the exploratory license if you:

  • Have an Azure AD domain email.
  • Are part of a tenant with a paid subscription to other MS products. 
  • Aren’t currently using Microsoft Teams.
  • Have individual users in your organization who need to have permission to sign up for apps and trials. 

However, you can’t get the exploratory license if you’ve already had it or if you’re already on a paid trial license. You also can’t get it if you’ve used a special COVID offer from Microsoft before. This policy varies from company to company. Check out the official documentation from Microsoft for more information.

Where can I check the status of my exploratory license?

Microsoft has made it easy for you to monitor your license. Go to MS 365 Admin Center → Billing → Your products. You’ll see all your licenses and subscriptions here. You’ll then be able to see how much time is remaining on your trial. This can also help you estimate how long you have to experience each of the services offered.

Can I upgrade the Microsoft Teams exploratory license after the trial ends?

Yes! The license is only good for a 12-month subscription period. Of course, it’s wise to upgrade before the trial period expires. However, Microsoft is kind enough to give trial users a 30-day grace period after the license expires. As an added bonus, if you let the grace period lapse and the organization loses access to Teams, your data gets retained for an additional 30 days

Besides communication, what else can I use Microsoft Teams for?

The more Microsoft products you use, the more integrations you can apply with Microsoft Teams. It’s very open to what you already have and what you’d like to use or integrate. You can also find more information about Microsoft Teams integrations here.

Resources 

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TechGenix: Articles on Microsoft 365

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TechGenix:  Article on Microsoft 365 Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

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TechGenix: Article on Exchange Web Services

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TechGenix: Article on Backing up Your Exchange Server

Use a protection manager to keep your exchange server data safe.

TechGenix: Article on Using MFA and PowerShell

Read more on how to collect users’ MFA information using PowerShell.

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