FAQ — Upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

Skype for Business Online retirement

Is there a firm deadline by which customers need to move from Skype for Business Online to Teams?

Yes. Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021, at which point it will no longer be accessible. We encourage Skype for Business Online customers to start using Teams and begin planning their upgrades now to allow ample time to complete upgrade prior to the retirement date.

Why is Skype for Business Online retiring?

Since its introduction, Skype for Business Online has been a valuable tool for millions of people around the world. By combining instant messaging, calling, and video into one application, Skype for Business Online established new possibilities for business communications. Microsoft Teams is the next chapter in that vision.

The capabilities of Microsoft Teams go beyond those of Skype for Business Online. By combining chat, video, calling, document collaboration, and application integration into a single experience, Teams enables entirely news way of working. And ongoing platform innovation and development means Teams users benefit from richer performance, functionality, flexibility, and security.

Teams isn’t just an upgrade for Skype for Business Online, it’s a powerful tool that enables companies, schools, and organizations to become more agile and improve the efficiency of key workflows. Learn more about the potential benefits of Teams for your organization in the Forrester white paper, The Total Economic Impact™ of Microsoft Teams.

What does this mean for Skype for Business customers?

After Skype for Business Online retires on July 31, 2021, the service will no longer be accessible. Until then, current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service. As of September 1, 2019, all new Microsoft 365 customers have been onboarded directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling.

The time needed to fully upgrade to Teams will vary based upon the unique characteristics of the organization, including number of users, technical complexity, and internal adaptability to change. We strongly recommend that you begin your upgrade to Teams today. By starting your upgrade today, you'll have ample time to finish it prior to the retirement date. Beginning in August, Microsoft will provide an assisted upgrade process to help you move any remaining Skype for Business Online users to Teams Only.

Teams is available in most Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise plans, and your existing licensing investments carry forward to Teams. Capabilities that are premium workloads in Skype for Business Online today will continue to be premium workloads in Teams. For example, if you have purchased Audio Conferencing standalone or as part of E5 with Skype for Business, Audio Conferencing will be enabled in Teams.

The Skype consumer service and Skype for Business Server are not affected by the retirement of Skype for Business Online.

Read FAQs on the process of upgrading to Teams and the Teams capabilities roadmap.

Do on-premises Skype for Business Server customers need to upgrade to Microsoft Teams when Skype for Business Online retires?

No. The retirement of Skype for Business Online doesn't impact users homed on-premises. Though we encourage all customer to take advantage of the expanded functionality and performance Microsoft Teams offers, some Skype for Business Server customers may need to use the product stand-alone or as part of a hybrid configuration with Microsoft Teams. Refer to the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy site for support dates for versions of Skype for Business Server.

What is Microsoft doing to help customers upgrade to Teams?

We strongly recommend that you begin your upgrade from Skype for Business Online to Teams today. By starting your upgrade today, you'll have ample time to finish it prior to the retirement date.

Take advantage of the resources available to help plan your Teams deployment and upgrade from Skype for Business:

If you’re a current Skype for Business Online customer, start planning your upgrade to Teams today. We’re excited for you to experience its powerful communication and collaboration capabilities, and we’re committed to helping along the way.

What happens after Skype for Business Online retires?

Microsoft will provide assisted upgrades for Skype for Business Online users not in Teams Only mode at retirement. Customers will receive notifications in both the Teams admin center, and the Microsoft 365 Message Center, 90 days before their scheduled upgrade date to allow time for technical and user readiness.

After the assisted upgrade is complete, all online users will be in Teams Only mode. Users in Teams Only mode receive incoming chats and calls, and schedule meetings, in Teams. Users in Teams Only mode will not be able to initiate chats or calls or schedule meetings in Skype for Business Online. Teams Only users will still be able to join Skype for Business meetings scheduled by users still using Skype for Business Server.

For more information, see Assisted Upgrades from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams.

Is Skype Meeting Broadcast going to retire at the same time as Skype for Business online?

Yes. Teams Live Events is the successor solution to Skype Meeting Broadcast.

What can organizations with hybrid configurations (Skype for Business Online and on-premises Skype for Business Server) expect when Skype for Business Online retires?

Hybrid customers with online and on-premises configurations will be required to upgrade online users from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams by the July 31, 2021 retirement date. Microsoft will provide assisted upgrades to help upgrade remaining Skype for Business Online users to Teams Only mode after the retirement date.

Organizations with a hybrid configuration can continue to use Skype for Business and Teams side-by-side until they're ready to move to Teams Only mode. After the Skype for Business Online retirement date, when a Skype for Business Server user is moved to the cloud, that user will be in Teams Only mode.

For more information, see Coexistence with Skype for Business and Understand Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business coexistence and interoperability.

How will the retirement of Skype for Business Online affect organizations with hybrid Skype for Business configurations for on-premises Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) connectivity and online Phone System capabilities?

Some organizations have split users between homed on-premises for PSTN connectivity and homed online for Phone System capabilities. Once access to Skype for Business Online ends, organizations will need to upgrade online users to Microsoft Teams and connect their on-premises telephony network to Teams through Direct Routing.

Customers with eligible subscriptions are encouraged to engage with FastTrack for Teams onboarding assistance.

Will customers in all clouds be subject to Microsoft-assisted upgrades at the retirement of Skype for Business Online?

Some cloud environments, such as GCC High, DoD, 21Vianet, and Microsoft Cloud Germany require unique upgrade experiences and won't be included in the Microsoft-assisted upgrades to Teams at the retirement of Skype for Business Online.

What is the future of Skype for Business Server?

We recognize customers may need to use Skype for Business Server for some users or geographies due to their requirements. In these instances, we encourage organizations to adopt Teams along with Skype for Business Server to drive teamwork and collaboration. The latest version of Skype for Business Server 2019 was released in October 2018 with Mainstream Support planned through January 9, 2024.

What does this mean for the Skype consumer service?

The retirement of Skype for Business Online will not impact the Skype consumer service.

What does this mean for existing Microsoft 365 customers?

We've brought the key set of Skype for Business Online capabilities into Teams along with new and innovative functionality for voice, video, and meetings. We encourage all Microsoft 365 customers to start using Teams today, independently or side-by-side with Skype for Business Server.

How can I get Teams licenses for my organization?

Teams is available in many of the Microsoft 365 suites. Capabilities that are premium workloads in Skype for Business Online today will continue to be premium workloads in Teams. Existing licensing investments made by customers carry forward to Teams. For example, if a customer has purchased Audio Conferencing standalone or as part of E5 with Skype for Business, Audio Conferencing will be enabled in Teams as it's available today.

What happens to customers with third-party audio conferencing (ACP) once Skype for Business Online is retired?

We believe the best audio conferencing experience for customers using Teams is through our Audio Conferencing services. For this reason, we don't have plans to support third-party audio conferencing providers in Teams. Support for the integration of third-party party audio conferencing providers in Skype for Business Online will end on July 31, 2021, along with Skype for Business Online.

Upgrade to Teams

How long will it take to upgrade my organization to Teams?

Your path your journey takes from Skype for Business to Teams will vary based upon the characteristics of your organization, such as technical complexity, aptitude for change, custom application and workflow integrations, and so on. To assist in your planning and execution, we've developed comprehensive upgrade guidance based upon a proven framework designed to help you navigate the technical and organizational elements of change. Start your journey by familiarizing yourself with our upgrade success framework and associated resources that serve as the cornerstone for navigating your journey from Skype for Business to Teams.

We encourage you to plan the journey from Skype for Business to Teams leveraging the guidance and resources at aka.ms/SkypetoTeams and attend a free upgrade planning workshop to identify and implement the upgrade path that best meets the needs of your organization.

Where can I learn more about coexistence modes in the Microsoft Teams admin center?

Within the Microsoft Teams admin center, you'll notice options for coexistence modes, enabling your organization to manage the Skype for Business to Teams journey that's right for your organization. Learn more about coexistence and upgrade modes.

Is Microsoft planning assisted upgrades?

Yes. Skype for Business Online customers may be scheduled for assisted upgrades to Microsoft Teams. This program was designed to help customers with the technical elements of upgrading a Skype for Business Online tenant to Teams Only. Customers scheduled for assisted upgrades will receive notifications in both the Teams admin center as well as the Microsoft 365 Message Center 90 days before their upgrade date to allow time for technical and user readiness. For more information, see Assisted upgrades from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams.

What should I do to prepare for my upgrade?

A successful upgrade will include validating technical readiness in addition to user acceptance readiness. Even if you determine your organization isn't quite ready to upgrade to Teams, you can begin the planning process today. Further, you can start realizing the value of Teams by enabling Teams alongside Skype for Business. Get started on your Skype to Teams journey today.

Microsoft also offers live, interactive workshops in which we'll share guidance, best practices, and resources designed to kick start upgrade planning and implementation. Learn about upgrade planning workshops.

My organization is already running Teams alongside Skype for Business. Can I just disable Skype for Business?

No, you'll want to switch users to Teams Only mode to complete the upgrade to Teams. If your organization is ready to upgrade to Teams, take time to communicate to users to let them know what's happening and allow them to acclimate to Teams. This will help ensure they have a positive upgrade experience and help alleviate calls to your helpdesk. For sample communication templates, download our Upgrade Success Kit.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the upgrade process?

For questions related to your upgrade, reach out to your current points of contact, which might include your assigned Microsoft account team, partner, or FastTrack. Alternatively, you can open a help ticket from within your Microsoft Teams admin center by clicking the Need help button.

Need help button

Do I upgrade all users on my tenant together, or can I opt to upgrade select users at a time?

You have the flexibility to upgrade users to Teams as it makes sense for you, whether it's individuals, groups of users, or your entire organization. To help understand the optimal approach for your organization, review the various coexistence and upgrade modes you can enable.

What happens after my users are upgraded?

After your users are upgraded to Teams (Teams Only mode):

  • Their Skype for Business client will be disabled for use as all chat and calls will go to Teams. This client will continue to be used for previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings. If this desktop client is uninstalled, users will be redirected to access previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings via the Skype for Business web app.

  • Any Skype for Business meetings scheduled before the upgrade will work as designed, but all new meetings will be scheduled in Teams. If users attempt to sign-in to Skype for Business, they'll get a notification from their client that they've been upgraded to Teams. Users will need to manually uninstall the Skype for Business client on their mobile device.

Will users still be able to use Skype for Business after I activate the upgrade notification in their client?

Yes, the upgrade notification will simply alert users that Skype for Business will be upgrading to Teams and invite them to get started with Teams if they haven't already. We recommend complementing this notification with an awareness campaign (emails, FAQs, helpdesk readiness, posters/signage) to communicate further details specific to your organization, such as timing for the upgrade, calls-to-action for the user, access to training, and so on. For communication templates, download our Upgrade Success Kit.

What does this mean from a licensing perspective? How will customers pay for capabilities such as Audio Conferencing and calling in Teams?

Teams is available in Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites. Capabilities that are premium workloads in Skype for Business Online today will continue to be premium workloads in Teams. Existing licensing investments made by customers carry forward to Teams. For example, if a customer has purchased Audio Conferencing standalone or as part of E5 with Skype for Business, Audio Conferencing will be enabled in Teams as it's available today.

What is the guidance for customers already deployed on Phone System (Cloud PBX) in Skype for Business Online?

Calling in Microsoft Teams is ready for all your communication needs. We encourage all Microsoft 365 customers to start using Teams as soon as possible. Using Teams will help ensure all critical workloads are enabled for Teams prior to the retirement of the Skype for Business Online service.

What is the guidance for customers using Enterprise Voice today who want to move to Teams and use calling capabilities?

Customers interested in bringing their own telephone service to Teams can now do so with the general availability of Direct Routing. Direct Routing and Calling Plans are the two choices for dial tone in Microsoft Teams.

Is Audio Conferencing coverage in Teams different in Skype for Business?

There will be no change in the coverage for Audio Conferencing as a result of its availability in Teams. The coverage of 90+ countries and 400+ cities we have today will continue to persist in both products. For the current list, see Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans.

Will the latest generation of Skype Room Systems v2 support meetings in Teams?

We rebranded Skype Room Systems to Microsoft Teams Rooms which fully supports Microsoft Teams meetings and offers an easy migration path from Skype for Business to Teams by just enabling Teams on the device. In addition to the ability for users to identify nearby Microsoft Teams Rooms with proximity detection, Teams meetings can be joined with a single-click, dual-screen support, Microsoft Whiteboard and we continue to bring innovative features like a content camera with intelligent capture.

General

Will you support third-party development opportunities in Teams?

Yes, app integration is one of the key benefits of adopting Teams. We currently support third-party bots, connectors, and extensions in Teams. In addition, we have a large ecosystem of add-ins available in the Microsoft Teams app store.

Is Teams available in Microsoft 365 Education?

Teams is available in all Microsoft 365 Education suite licensing (Microsoft A1, A3 and A5).

Is Teams available in the government community cloud (GCC)?

Yes, Teams is available for the US Government Cloud Community (GCC). To learn more, see plan for Microsoft 365 GCC deployments.

What is the plan for Microsoft's online voice capabilities?

The core of our voice solution is Phone System which is available today. Customers can additionally add a Microsoft Calling Plan which provides complete support for calling including number acquisition and assignment directly in Microsoft 365. Customers who want to keep their telecom telephone trunks can use Direct Routing – which is included as part of Phone System. Mix and match both together as you see fit for your organization's needs to have a complete voice solution.

Which APIs and SDKs will be made available for Teams?

Visit the Microsoft Teams developer platform for information about available APIs and SDKs.

What are the benefits of Teams' back-end infrastructure?

Teams is built for the cloud on a highly scalable microservices architecture that's efficient in bandwidth consumption, provides more robust telemetry, and enables maintenance and upgrades with minimal disruption. As a result, users see faster meeting join times and a better browser experience without needing to download plug-ins. This modern infrastructure makes it easy to tap into Microsoft Cognitive Services—which include transcription, translation, speech recognition, and machine learning capabilities—and have the power to make communication and collaboration easier and more effective.

How can customers learn when Skype for Business capabilities will be available in Teams?

What's the plan for video interoperability support for Teams meetings?

Meeting room devices are critical to our vision for the modern workplace. Cloud video interoperability services to support Teams meetings with existing VTC systems are available through our partners Pexip, Polycom, and Blue Jeans.