Setting up Phone System in your organization

The following is a step-by-step guide for setting up Phone System in Office 365. Links to additional, detailed information are available at the end of each step.

Step 1: Make sure that Phone System is available in your country or region

  1. First go to Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans, and select your country or region from the list at the top of the page.
  2. Under Phone System, review the list of features and details.
  3. If Phone System is available, go to step 2.

To learn more about regional availability of Phone System and Audio Conferencing, see Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans.

Step 2: Buy and assign Phone System and Calling Plan licenses

To assign a Phone System and Calling Plan license to a single user the steps are the same as assigning an Office 365 license. See Assign Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams licenses. If you want to assign multiple users in bulk, see Assign Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams licenses.

Step 3: Get phone numbers for your users

Before you can set up users in your organization to make and receive phone calls, you must get phone numbers for them.

You have three ways of getting numbers for your users:

  • Get new numbers using the Skype for Business admin center.
  • Get new numbers that aren't available in the Skype for Business admin center.
  • Port or transfer your existing numbers from your current service provider or phone carrier to Office 365.

You must use the Add new user numbers page to see, search, acquire, and reserve those numbers. You can search by Country/Region, State, and City, and then enter the number of phone numbers you will need for your users.

Get new user phone numbers

sfb-logo-30x30.png Using the Skype for Business admin center

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center > Skype for Business.

  3. In the left navigation go to Voice > Phone numbers, click Add new number Add button, and then click New user numbers.

Get new numbers that aren't available in the Skype for Business admin center

Sometimes (depending on your country/region) you won't be able to get your new numbers using the Skype for Business admin center. In this case, you will need to download a form and send it back to us. See Manage phone numbers for your organization to learn how to request new user numbers.

Port or transfer phone numbers from your service provider or phone carrier

  • If you need 999 or fewer phone numbers for your users, you can use the New Local Number Port Order wizard in the Skype for Business admin center. Follow the steps found in Transfer phone numbers to Office 365 to transfer your phone numbers over to Skype for Business Online.

  • If you need to port more than 999 phone numbers, see Manage phone numbers for your organization to submit a port order service request or order to get all of these phone numbers ported over to Office 365.

For detailed information about getting new phone numbers or transferring existing numbers, see Manage phone numbers for your organization.

Step 4: Get service phone numbers (audio conferencing, call queues, auto attendants)

In addition to getting phone numbers for your users from Office 365, you can search and acquire toll or toll-free phone numbers for services such as audio conferencing (for conference bridges), auto attendants, and call queues (also called service numbers). Service phone numbers have a higher concurrent calling capacity than user or subscriber phone numbers. For example, a service number can handle 100s of calls simultaneously, whereas a user's phone number can only handle a few calls simultaneously.

Get new service numbers

sfb-logo-30x30.png Using the Skype for Business admin center

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center > Skype for Business.

  3. In the left navigation go to Voice > Phone numbers > Add new number, and then click New service numbers.

    Important

    For you to see the Voice option in the left navigation in the Skype for Business admin center, you must first buy at least one Enterprise E5 license, one Phone System add-on license, or one Audio Conferencing add-on license.

Get new numbers that aren't available in the Skype for Business admin center

Sometimes (depending on your country/region) you won't be able to get your new numbers using the Skype for Business admin center. In this case, you will need to download a form and send it back to us. See Manage phone numbers for your organization to learn how to request new numbers.

Port or transfer existing service numbers

If you want to transfer service numbers from your current service provider or carrier, you need to manually submit a port order to Microsoft. You have to submit separate port orders for each type of service number (toll vs. toll-free) that you will be transferring using a Letter of Authorization (LOA). In the Letter of Authorization (LOA), you must select the correct type of service number. When contacting Microsoft support, please make sure you specify that you are transferring a service number (and not a user or subscriber number), or the concurrent calling capacity may not be enough to handle call volumes. If you want to transfer phone numbers or do other things with your phone numbers, see Manage phone numbers for your organization.

Step 5: If you want to set up Calling Plans

If you have been following the steps above, you have already bought and assigned Phone System and licenses and a Calling Plan (step 2) and acquired phone numbers for your users (step 3), so your calling plan is partially set up. Follow the three procedures below to complete the setup of your Calling Plan.

Add emergency addresses and locations for your organization

  1. On the Voice page, choose Emergency locations > Add new address.

  2. In the New address pane, enter a name for your address, and then complete the remaining boxes.

    When you enter a new emergency address, the formatting of the street name might cause an error.

    Tip

    For English customers, if the street name is a number, be sure to include "st" or "th" at the end, as shown in the above picture.

  3. Choose Validate.

    If needed, you'll be prompted to make corrections to the address.

    Caution

    Validating a street or civic address involves making sure that it is legitimate and correctly formatted. It is possible that a partially correct emergency address, such as if you mistyped the name of the city, may still pass validation. Even though it's misspelled and passed validation, the combination of the misspelled name of city along with the other correct parts of the address are enough information to route the call to the appropriate emergency dispatch center.

    Tip

    If the address needs to be corrected for emergency response, a green banner will appear notifying you that the address was updated.

  4. After the address is validated, choose Save.

Assign phone numbers and emergency addresses to users

Tip

If you add more people to your business right before doing this step, it may take several hours for them to appear on the Voice users page. There's a latency.

  1. On the Voice users page, select the people who you want to assign a phone number and emergency address to.

  2. In the Action pane, click Assign number.

  3. On the Assign number page, in the Select number to assign list, select the phone number for the user.

  4. To select an emergency address, enter name of the city in the box and choose Search.

    Important

    If you are outside the United States, your numbers already have an emergency address, but you can change it now. See Assign or change an emergency address for a user.

  5. After you assign both the phone number and emergency address, choose Save.

Tell your users about their new phone numbers

We recommend sending mail or using your business's preferred communication method to tell the people about their new phone numbers.

Here's how they can see that phone number in their Skype for Business app:

  1. Sign in to Skype for Business on your desktop.

  2. Choose Settings > Tools > Options.

    To view your phone number, go to Settings > Tools > Options.

  3. Then choose Phones.

    A user can see their assign number in the Skype for Business app by choosing Settings > Tools > Options > Phone.

In Microsoft Teams, users can see their phone number by clicking Calls in the left navigation. The phone number is shown above the dial pad.

A user can see their number in Microsoft Teams by clicking Calls in the left navigation.

For more detailed information about all of the steps involved in setting up a Calling Plan, see Set up Calling Plans.

Step 6: If you want to set up Audio Conferencing

Sometimes people in your organization will need to use a phone to call in to a meeting. Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams include the audio conferencing feature for just this situation! People can call in to Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams meetings using a phone, instead of using the Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams app on a mobile device or PC.

You only need to set up Audio Conferencing for people who plan to schedule or lead meetings. Meeting attendees who dial in don't need any licenses assigned to them or other setup.

For frequently asked questions about Audio Conferencing, see Audio Conferencing common questions.

  1. If you purchased Audio Conferencing add-on licenses and Communications Credits licenses, assign them too. For instructions, see Assign Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams licenses.

    Decide on your audio conferencing provider. An audio conferencing provider supplies an audio conferencing bridge. The conferencing bridge sets your dial-in phone numbers, PINs, and conference IDs for meetings. Decide whether to use Microsoft or a third-party audio conferencing provider:

    Note

    Microsoft Teams users can't user a third-party audio conferencing provider.

    • Microsoft as your audio conferencing provider: If you want the easiest solution for audio conferencing, choose Microsoft as your audio conferencing provider.

    • Third party as your audio conferencing provider: If you are in a country where Audio Conferencing in Office 365 isn't available, the service quality isn't great because of its location, or you have an existing contract, choose a third-party audio conferencing provider. To find a provider, go to Microsoft PinPoint.

  2. Assign the audio conferencing provider to people who lead or schedule meetings. See Assign Microsoft as the audio conferencing provider.

  3. Set up meeting invitations. The following steps are optional, but a lot of admins like to do them:

    1. Customize meeting invitations in Skype for Business. The dial-in numbers that are set for the user will be automatically added to the meeting invitations that are sent to attendees. However, you can add your own help and legal links, a text message, and small company graphic.

    2. Set the Audio Conferencing phone numbers for meeting organizers that are included on invites in Skype for Business or in Microsoft Teams. This is the phone number that will show up in the meeting that is scheduled by the user.

    3. Set auto attendant languages for Audio Conferencing in Skype for Business or in Microsoft Teams that the audio conferencing auto attendant uses to greet a caller when they dial in to an Audio Conferencing phone number. This step only applies if you're using Microsoft as your audio provider.

    4. Set the length of the PIN for Audio Conferencing meetings in Skype for Business or in Microsoft Teams.

      Note

      This feature is not yet available to customers using Office 365 operated by 21Vianet in China. To learn more, see Learn about Office 365 operated by 21Vianet.

For more information about Audio Conferencing, see Set up Audio Conferencing.

Step 7: If you want to set up a Phone System call queue

Phone System call queues include greetings that are used when someone calls in to a phone number for your organization, the ability to automatically put the calls on hold, and the ability to search for the next available call agent to handle the call while the people who call are listening to music on hold. You can create single or multiple call queues for your organization.

Before you can create and set up your call queues, you will need to get or transfer your existing toll or toll-free service numbers. After you get the toll or toll-free service phone numbers, they will show up in Skype for Business admin center > Voice > Phone numbers, and the Number type listed will be listed as Service - Toll-Free. To get your service numbers, see Getting service phone numbers for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams or if you want to transfer and existing service number, see Transfer phone numbers to Office 365.

Note

If you are outside the United States, you can't use the Skype for Business admin center to get service numbers. Go to Manage phone numbers for your organization instead to see how to do it from the outside of the United States.

To create a new call queue, in the Skype for Business admin center, click Call routing > Call queues, click Add new, and then follow the instructions in Step 3 of Create a Phone System call queue.

For more details about call queues, see Create a Phone System call queue.

Step 8: If you want to set up a Phone System auto attendant

Auto attendants let people that call in to your organization and navigate a menu system to get them to the right department, call queue, person, or the operator. You can create an auto attendant for your organization by using the Skype for Business admin center.

To create a new auto attendant, in the Skype for Business admin center, click Call routing > Auto attendants, click Add new, and then follow the instructions for each page in Step 2 of Set up a Phone System auto attendant.

For more details about Phone System auto attendants, see Set up a Phone System auto attendant.

Step 9: Assign service phone numbers (audio conferencing, call queues, auto attendants)

Once you have your service numbers from Step 4 above, you need to assign them to each type of service that you want. For example, if you want a dedicated service phone number (toll or toll-free), you will need to assign the number to the conferencing bridge.

  • For Audio Conferencing, you can assign a dedicated number to a conferencing bridge by going to Office 365 admin center > Admin centers > Skype for Business > Audio conferencing and click on the conference bridge or by seeing Change the toll or toll-free numbers on your Audio Conferencing bridge.

  • For Auto Attendants, you can assign a dedicated number to an auto attendant by going to Office 365 admin center > Admin centers > Skype for Business > Call routing > Auto attendants and click on the auto attendant. On the General page the service number you already have will be listed in the Phone number drop down. For details, see Set up a Phone System Auto Attendant.

  • For Call Queues, you can assign a dedicated number to a call queue by going to Office 365 admin center > Admin centers > Skype for Business > Call routing > Call queues and click on the call queue. On the General page the service number you already have will be listed in the Phone number drop down. For details, see Create a Phone System call queue.

For detailed information about getting new service numbers and porting existing service numbers, see Getting service phone numbers.

Step 10: Set up Communications Credits for your organization

You will need to set up Communications Credits if you would like to use toll-free numbers with Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. Also, we recommend that you set up Communications Credits for your Calling Plans (Domestic or International) and Audio Conferencing users who need the ability to dial out to any destination. Many countries/regions are included, but some destinations may not be included in your Calling Plan or Audio Conferencing subscriptions. If you don't set up Communications Credits billing and assign a Communications Credits license to your users and you run out minutes for your organization (depending on your Calling Plan or Audio Conferencing plan in your country/region), those users won't be able to make calls or dial out from Audio Conferencing meetings. You can get more information, including recommended funding amounts, by reading What are Communications Credits?

Note

To find out how much it costs, see the rates here.

To set up Communications Credits

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

  2. In the left navigation of the Office 365 admin center, go to Billing > Subscriptions > Add-ons > Buy add-ons, and then choose Communications Credits > Buy now.

  3. On the Communications Credits subscription page, fill in your information, and then click Next.

  4. Enter your payment information and click Place order.

    Important

    If you are a volume licensing customer, you may choose your enterprise agreement number for payment. If you have multiple enterprise agreement numbers, you will be able to select which enterprise agreement you would like to use for payment. You will also be given an opportunity to specify a purchase order number to associate with the enterprise agreement number (if applicable).

For more detailed information about setting up Communications Credits, see Set up Communications Credits for your organization.

Assign a Communications Credits license to users

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

  2. In the left navigation of the Office 365 admin center, go to Users > Active users, and then select a user or users from the list.

  3. In the Action pane under Product licenses, click Edit.

  4. On the Product licenses page, toggle Communications Credits to On to assign this license, and then click Save.

    Note

    Even if you have users who are assigned an Enterprise E5 license, it's still recommended that you do this.

To learn more about assigning Communications Credits licenses, see Set up Communications Credits for your organization.

Here's what you get with Phone System in Office 365

Getting service phone numbers for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams

Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans