Microsoft E5 Licensing Update.
As you may recall, last March Microsoft announced its intent to support PSTN services via a new Office 365 enterprise subscription level called E5. The company expected the offer to be available in the Fall. Pricing and availability was not provided.
There are two separate components (and two prices) to realize UCaaS with PSTN services: An O365 subscription that includes SfB and a PSTN solution. The new O365 E5 subscription is required. Additional UCaaS options are expected for SMB. Note that E5 includes conferencing (PSTN dial-in) regardless of PSTN.
There are three O365 enterprise subscription options: E1, E3, and E5. The E5 plan replaces the current E4 plan. The E5 plan includes E3 components plus archiving, data loss prevention, encryption, access control, end user and organizational analytics (PowerBI, Delve), and Skype4B with Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing.
The E5 subscription includes “Cloud PBX.” This is confusing as it does not include PSTN services. Microsoft points out that PBX systems don’t include PSTN either (but cloud solutions do). PSTN services can be added in two ways: the cloud (PSTN Calling) creating a UCaaS offer, or use on-site PSTN services with on-prem SfB (hybrid).
|Exchange Online||50 GB||Unlim||Unlim|
|Yammer, O365 Video, SharePoint Online, Planner now includes Task Management||X||X||X|
|Skype for Business with Meeting Broadcast||X||X||X|
|OneDrive for Business, Delve||X||X||X|
|Office Apps Online||X||X||X|
|Office Apps Clients||X||X|
|Archiving, Rights Mgmt and now Data Loss Prevention, Encryption||X||X|
|Equivio Analytics for eDiscovery, Secure Attachments and URLs, Access Control||X|
|Power BI Pro, Delve Analytics||X|
|Cloud PBX (SfB)||X|
|PSTN Conferencing (SfB) per minute charges apply||X|
|ADD ON: PSTN Calling – (domestic only about half price) ESTIMATED||$24|
Most UCaaS competitors will be offering a separate service that ties into O365. Favoring Microsoft will be integration and single vendor. The other UCaaS providers will likely stress customer service, stronger SLAs, and specialized features such as contact center or workstream communications and collaboration. At least initially, many providers will have an advantage on international availability.
Large enterprises will likely obtain significant discounts of these list prices.
E5 licenses are expected to be available worldwide on December 1. PSTN Calling option will only be available in the US, but I expect many more countries in 2016.