Skype for Business Pay-per-minute Audio Conferencing…

Back in September, Microsoft announced that they were going to add a pay-per-minute (or consumption based) version of their Audio Conferencing feature. Tom Arbuthnot covered it here.

This new license is pretty irrelevant for organisations that already have E5 licenses due to the regular Audio Conferencing license already being part of that SKU. However, if you’re running E1 or E3 SKUs (or the rare ‘E5 without Audio Conferencing’ SKU) then this consumption-based model might work for you. The list price for an Audio Conferencing license is $4/month per user. Whilst that seems cheap on the face of it, once you start licensing thousands of users, that builds up to a substantial sum, especially for something the majority of your user base might not even utilise.

So, how much does it actually cost?

Well, the license is free. If you don’t already have this showing in your portal go ahead and ask your account team to get it added (we had to do this).

You’ll also need to have Communications Credits setup for your tenant. Details can be found here.

Once the license is applied to your users, they’ll start to see the dial-in details appear in their meeting invites. If your mailboxes are hosted in Exchange Online, please be aware that this will also trigger the Meeting Migration Service so if users start to report receiving acceptances and declines to their meetings again, that will be the reason.

On the face of it, charges are pretty simple to work out. Go to Microsoft’s handy site, choose your country, your currency and ‘Pay-per-minute’ as your rate type and you’re given a spreadsheet with all the charges.

You’ll get three tabs in the spreadsheet, all pretty self-explanatory, but you may wonder why the charges are cheaper for some countries when using a toll-free number when compared to a tolled number. For example, the US tolled dial-in cost is 1.3p/min versus 0.60p/min for the toll-free. Toll-free is usually more expensive right?

Well, the explanation is that if someone uses one of your toll-free numbers to dial-in to you meeting you will be paying both the tolled cost plus the toll-free cost. So, in the example above, using the US toll-free number you will pay 1.9p/min (1.3p + 0.60p). Think of the toll-free value as an uplift in this instance.

This isn’t obvious on first look and isn’t explained anywhere that I’ve looked so far (hence this blog post). Hopefully this will help someone who is trying to work out how much this will cost them.