Enable New Mobile Phone Identities with Microsoft Teams

Screenshot of the Microsoft Teams chat page.
Microsoft Teams is primarily known as a collaborative platform.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams has become an essential communications platform for many companies. Microsoft Teams is primarily known as a platform for video conferencing and collaboration. That said, Microsoft has recently announced it’ll enhance Teams’ capabilities. This will allow Teams to function as a hub for various types of voice and video communications.

In this article, I’ll discuss a forthcoming Teams feature that Microsoft is calling Operator Connect Mobile. This new feature will allow voice and video calls across various device types.

Microsoft Teams Phone

To appreciate the significance of the Operator Connect Mobile feature, you first need to know about Microsoft Teams Phone. Microsoft Teams Phone isn’t a physical device like Microsoft’s now-defunct Windows Phone, but rather an add-on for Teams. The core purpose of the Microsoft Teams application is to facilitate meetings and collaboration. That said, Microsoft Teams Phone (the Teams Phone System) is more suitable for voice and video calling. Users can use an application running on their device of choice to make and receive VoIP or PSTN calls, as well as video calls.

Screenshot of 'Phone' tab under the 'Calls' tab in Microsoft Teams platform where speed dial and history of phone calls appear.
Teams users can call place VoIP calls to one another without the need for Microsoft Teams Phone.

It’s worth noting that the Microsoft Teams Phone has more in common with a business phone system than with the smartphone in your pocket. It includes some features associated with physical or cloud-based PBX systems. For example, Microsoft Teams Phone supports call queues, conference calling, multi-level auto attendants, and the ability to transfer calls from one user to another.

The Operator Connect Mobile add-on highlights the Microsoft Teams Phone application’s main purpose, which is to be somewhat device agnostic. Users can run the Microsoft Teams Phone application on a desktop, mobile device, or any device with a compatible Web browser. You can also use Microsoft Teams Phone from a desk phone.

Now that you understand what Microsoft Teams Phone is, I’ll explain to you Microsoft’s new feature, Operator Connect Mobile, in the next section.

Operator Connect Mobile

Operator Connect Mobile is a new feature that Microsoft plans to release soon. It’ll pick up where Microsoft Teams Phone left off. This will make Teams calling a lot simpler for both users and admins. It’ll also significantly improve the overall flexibility of calls. Read on to know more about what Operator Connect Mobile does.

1. The Shared SIM

Consolidating points of contact is one of the most fundamental functions of Operator Connect Mobile. You don’t need to have one phone number for a mobile phone and another number for your desk phone anymore. One number applies to everything with Operator Connect Mobile. Employers issue employees a SIM-enabled smartphone. The phone number associated with that phone is also associated with the Teams Phone app and with the employee’s desk phone. That means when a call comes in, the employee can answer the call from the device of their choosing.

2. Call Uplifting

Operator Connect Mobile is about more than just phone number consolidation. It also allows what Microsoft refers to as call uplifting. Suppose a particular user is en route to the office but needs to handle an urgent matter before they get there. The user can pull out their smartphone and call whoever they need to talk to. The user doesn’t need to open a Teams-related application to make the call. They’ll make it in the usual way, through the phone’s native dialer. 

Now suppose the user arrives on-site, but they’re not done with the call yet. They can seamlessly transition the call to their PC or their desk phone. If the user moves the call to their PC, they can change it to a video call to benefit from the PC’s capabilities. Likewise, they might choose to bring additional people into the conversation (turning the call into a conference call).

Final Thoughts 

Operator Connect Mobile will be a truly device-agnostic solution that allows users to switch between PCs, mobile devices, and desk phones when needed. Even if a call was initially placed over a cellular network, Operator Connect Mobile can instantly transition to VoIP if the user chooses to switch to a different device. In essence, Operator Connect Mobile will make it easier for a user to work from whatever device they choose to use at a given moment.

Have more questions? Check out the FAQs and Resources section below!

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Is Microsoft Teams Phone included with Microsoft Teams?

No, you’ll need a Microsoft 365 E5 subscription and a calling plan. You’ll still have to connect to the PSTN as well. Otherwise, you’ll need to add Teams Phone Standard licenses for E1/E3, A1/A3, or G1/G3 plans and choose a Microsoft standalone calling plan. You can find licensing and pricing details here.

How will Operator Connect Mobile benefit my organization?

Operator Connect Mobile allows your users to have one business-provided number for mobile, desk, and Microsoft Teams to work with more flexibility. You can also configure calls from the user to appear as though they’re coming from the organization. This feature will also reduce the number of devices and hardware your organization has to purchase, manage, and support. Find out more benefits here. 

When will Operator Connect Mobile be available?

Microsoft hasn’t yet announced a release date. That said, the estimated release period for the feature is in the second half of 2022. Microsoft also stated they’re partnering with innovative operators like BT, Rogers, Swisscom, Telia, and Verizon to bring forth the future of communications.

Can users use Operator Connect Mobile with their personal smartphones?

While you can use the Teams Phone app on a personal device with the proper licensing, Operator Connect Mobile is different. It’s specifically intended to be used with employer-issued smartphones.

Will smartphone data get added to Microsoft Teams?

Yes, users will be able to access voice mail, call histories, and contacts across the various platforms. On average, a Microsoft Teams video call will use up 225MB per hour, and you can choose to connect to Wi-Fi or mobile data to complete calls. Operator Connect Mobile also won’t have any influence on your call ‘minutes’ from your cell service provider.


Microsoft’s Operator Connect Mobile Feature Article

Learn about Microsoft’s new feature, Operator Connect Mobile, here.

Microsoft’s Operator Connect Mobile Feature Guide

Read more on how Operator Connect Mobile will work with Teams here.

Microsoft’s Getting Phone Numbers Article 

Find out how to acquire phone numbers for your Teams users here.

TechGenix’s Microsoft Teams Announcements Article 

Discover all of the Microsoft Teams announcements from Microsoft Ignite here.

TechGenix’s Teams Network Infrastructure Article 

Learn how to ensure that your network infrastructure is ready for Teams here.

TechGenix’s Implementing Multifactor Authentication Guide 

Find out how to configure Microsoft Teams to require multifactor authentication here.

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