Zoom Phone vs Microsoft Teams Phone: The Complete Breakdown
When comparing Zoom Phone vs Microsoft Teams Phone, there are rather a few differences between the two.
Unlike VoIP packages of old, both vendors provide integrative phone solutions in their own collaboration apps.
Of course, there’s a lot more to both Zoom and Teams than just cloud calling…
Click here for a full comparison of Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Or read on for the differences between Zoom Phone and Microsoft Teams Phone.
Microsoft Teams telephony options
Microsoft provides several telephony options from its own technology stack. These all enable both VoIP and PSTN calling.
1 – Microsoft Teams Phone System
The enterprise-grade phone system supports calling through Microsoft’s cloud. There’s support for dial-in numbers, new phone numbers, and PSTN connections too.
With seemingly interchangeable names in the Teams community, you might have seen this named Business Voice or Phone in recent times.
With Microsoft Teams Phone System, you can access a full calling environment within your Teams interface.
Below, you can see your saved contacts, access to history, voicemail, and a dialpad.
You can unify your calendar, collaboration app, phone, and productivity tools in one platform.
Pricing starts at $96 per user per year ($8 per user per month) without a calling plan.
Add $7 per user per month for a standard calling plan or turn on Microsoft Teams Phone via your Microsoft 365 E5 license.
Microsoft lists its full Phone feature list (as of August 2022) as:
|Phone System feature||Description|
|Cloud auto attendants||Lets you create a menu system that enables external and internal callers to locate and place or transfer calls to company users or departments in your organization. Note that users do not need to be voice-enabled to receive calls from the auto attendant dial by name, dial by number directory search. Users do need to be voice-enabled to receive calls from the auto attendant menu options.|
|Cloud call queues||Lets you configure how call queues are managed for your organization: for example, set up greetings and music on hold, search for the next available call agent to handle the call, and so on. Note that users do need to be voice-enabled to receive calls from a call queue.|
|Music on hold||Plays default music defined by the service or custom music uploaded by the tenant administrator when an external call from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is placed on hold. This feature works for one-to-one PSTN-to-Teams calls in addition to calls made to a call queue. This feature provides on-hold notification parity with other platforms.|
|Call answer/initiate (by name and number)||Lets users answer inbound calls with a touch and place outbound calls either by dialing the full phone number or by clicking a name in the client.|
|Call forwarding options and simultaneous ring||Lets users set up forwarding rules so calls can go with them anywhere, or calls can be forwarded to colleagues or to voicemail.|
|Group call pickup and forward to a group||Lets users share incoming calls with colleagues so that the colleagues can answer calls that occur while the user is unavailable. Less disruptive to recipients than other forms of call sharing (such as call forwarding or simultaneous ringing) because users can configure how they want to be notified of an incoming shared call.|
|Transfer a call and consultative transfer||Lets users transfer calls to another person. Or, if they need to leave their office but want to continue the conversation, they can transfer the calls from their PC or IP phone to their cell phone. Note that users do not need to be voice-enabled to receive transferred calls from another user.|
|Transfer to voicemail mid-call||Lets users transfer to voicemail during a call.|
|Call park and retrieve||Lets users place a call on hold in the Teams service in the cloud. When a call is parked, the service generates a unique code for call retrieval. The user who parked the call or someone else can then use that code and a supported app or device to retrieve the call.|
|Call phone number from search||Lets users place a call from the search box by using the /call command and specifying a name or a number.|
|Caller ID||Calls from inside the company display a detailed caller ID that pulls information from the corporate directory, showing a picture ID and job title instead of just a phone number. For calls from external phone numbers, the caller ID as provided by the phone service provider is displayed. If the external phone numbers are secondary numbers in the corporate directory, then the information from the corporate directory will be displayed.|
|Device switching||Lets users play a call or meeting on another HID device that is connected to Teams; for example, switching from their PC speakers to a headset.|
|Presence-based call routing||Controls inbound communications with presence, enabling the user to block all incoming communication except those specifically indicated.|
|Integrated dial pad||Lets users dial by name or by number anywhere in the search bar and in the dial pad, speeding up the process of making outbound calls.|
|Federated calling||Lets users securely connect, communicate, and collaborate with users in federated tenants.|
|Make and receive a video call||If the user’s account is enabled for video calls, the user can make face-to-face video calls with their contacts. All they need is a camera, their computer’s speakers and a microphone. Users can also use a headset if their computer doesn’t have a built-in audio device.|
|Cloud Voicemail||When a user receives a voicemail, it is delivered to their Exchange mailbox as an email with the voicemail message as an attachment. Users can listen to their messages on their certified desktop phone, and on all Teams or Skype for Business applications. Support for voicemail transcription has been added as of March 2017 and is enabled by default for all organizations and users. Note that users do not need a Phone System license, nor do they need to be voice-enabled to use Cloud Voicemail features.|
|Cloud Voicemail user settings||Lets users configure their client settings for voicemail greetings, call answering rules, and greeting language, including out-of-office greetings. Note that users do not need a Phone System license, nor do they need to be voice-enabled to use Cloud Voicemail features.|
|Secondary ringer||Users with multiple speaker devices connected to their PC can choose to set a secondary device to ring in addition to their default speaker. For example, a user with a headset connected to the PC and desk speakers can choose to have both headset and desk speakers ring when a call comes in so that they don’t miss a call.|
|Distinctive ring alerts (Teams only)||Lets users choose separate ringtones for normal calls, forwarded calls, and delegated calls so they can distinguish the type of call.|
|Shared Line Appearance||Lets users share their phone lines so that other users can make and receive calls on their behalf.|
|Busy on Busy (Teams only)||The caller will receive one of the following responses: hear a busy signal when the callee is on the phone; will be routed accordingly to the user’s unanswered settings. One option lets the caller leave a voicemail for the user who is already on a call. The callee gets a missed call notification but isn’t able to answer incoming calls. This feature is disabled by default but can be turned on by the tenant admin.|
|Call blocking||Lets users add (PSTN) phone numbers to a blocked list so that the next call from that number is blocked from ringing the user.|
|Common Area Phones||A common area phone is typically placed in an area like a lobby or conference room making it available to multiple people. Common area phones are set up as devices rather than users, and can automatically sign into a network.|
|Media bypass support (for Teams Direct Routing only)||For better performance, media is kept between the Session Border Controller (SBC) and the client instead of sending it through the Phone System.|
|Unassigned number routing||Allows routing of unassigned numbers to users, auto attendants, call queues, or a custom announcement.|
Calling plans in Microsoft Teams
There are a number of options for Microsoft Teams’ own calling plans. These are the calling minutes on top of the telephony license.
When opting for a telephony package from Microsoft, you must also buy a calling plan otherwise you can’t make PSTN calls—only on-net calls within your organization.
The most recent addition is the pay-as-you-go PSTN calling plan.
This is in addition to the Domestic Calling Plan and Internal Calling Plan as shown in the screenshot below.
2 – Microsoft Direct Routing
Companies using Microsoft Teams can also use direct routing for telephony. This involves using a third-party provider to add phone capabilities to Microsoft Teams.
With direct routing, companies can keep their existing phone service provider, and use SIP trunks and session border controllers (SBCs) to connect to Teams.
You can find a list of Microsoft Teams Direct Routing partners here.
3 – Operator Connect
Microsoft says that, with Operator Connect, “if your existing operator is a participant in the Microsoft Operator Connect Program, they can manage the service for bringing PSTN calling to Teams.”
This, in theory, makes it easier for you to start using your existing provider’s phone and calling plan without a complex migration.
You take away the need for a business to manage its own direct routing and let the operator do the hard work.
There are both benefits and disadvantages here as some customers will want complete control over their technology. For businesses who want to sit back and have their telephony estate looked after, Operator Connect is a welcomed addition.
Zoom telephony options
Zoom has one unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) option: Zoom Phone.
If you’re a user of Zoom’s meetings and collaboration platform, you can add Zoom Phone to enable a dialpad, call history, contacts, and voicemail settings within your current interface.
Zoom Phone pricing generally has three options, though there are differences between geographical regions.
The entry-level package is £$120 per user (working out at $10 per user per month) without a calling plan. You “pay as you go” when it comes to minutes or upgrade to the next pricing tier that includes unlimited calling without your region.
International calling, additional phone numbers, call queues and reporting, toll-free numbers, and premium support can all be added as optional extras.
As of August 2022, Zoom lists its Phone features as:
- Mobile and phone apps
- Desk phone support
- Call transfer
- Call forwarding
- Call recording
- Salesforce integration
- Call blocking
- Call delegation
- Call hold
- Elevate to meeting
- Listen (monitor)
- Call park
- Shared line
- Shared line groups
- Native Zoom integrations
- Slack integration
Like Microsoft’s options to plug in your own carrier (Direct Routing or Operator Connect), you can redirect existing voice circuits/trunks to the Zoom Phone cloud or port your numbers over for Zoom to be your number provider.
Reviews of Zoom Phone vs Teams Phone
Zoom showcases a testimonial on its website for Zoom Phone:
“At Ciena, we love Zoom – it transformed us into a video culture, but the missing piece was external phone calling. We wanted to make communications easy by consolidating into one tool, so we were excited when Zoom Phone debuted.”Henry Ku, Director of IT Infrastructure at Ciena.
Teams Phone is in use by an SMB in the transportation industry. With 70 users in 5 locations in North America, this company chose Teams Phone for its flexibility and portability.
The video below runs through details of this case study, plus another from a legal firm now using Teams Phone.
PC Mag rates Teams Phone as four stars out of five. It cites pros of Teams Phone as:
- Cost-effective add-on to Microsoft 365
- Deep integration with Microsoft 365
- Solid mobile and desktop capability integrated with Microsoft Teams
It also suggests a con as “the tedious setup process for auto attendant.”
On the Microsoft Teams Subreddit, there are a number of reviews from people who’ve played Zoom Phone and Teams Phone off against each other.
We include a select few below:
“Just did an evaluation on both for our org, and went with Zoom Phone instead of Teams. Pricing is competitive, and Zoom Phone is a fully featured UCaaS solution. It can be confusing to have both, but ultimately the Teams Phone system didn’t have all the functionality we needed for call queues and we were worried about support from Microsoft on that.”
With regards to call queues, Microsoft has now announced a full digital contact center to provide more queuing functionality, as well as other contact center features.
“The one thing I like is Zoom’s app interface. Compared to Teams, it seems more intuitive for our users. We have a bunch of people that are too intimidated by Teams. The Zoom Phone power pack seems like a nice option for reception staff too and I like that it’s a native solution instead of having to get a third-party solution.”
Integration of Zoom Phone and Teams Phone
Choosing one over the other is usually as simple as making sure all your desired features are supported or simply picking the solution you’re already using for meetings and collaboration.
But what if you’re using both?
Or what if you’ve identified a feature in Zoom Phone that Teams Phone doesn’t have but you use Teams for everything else?
You don’t have to use Microsoft Teams Phone because you use Teams for collaboration and meetings.
You can integrate Zoom Phone with Microsoft Teams so can use Zoom Phone as your PBX inside Teams.
When integrated, you can use Zoom Phone inside Teams for external calling.
You get the Zoom dialpad, contacts, voicemail, and call history without needing to switch between applications.
Pretty neat, right?
Integrating Zoom and Microsoft Teams for messaging
When it comes to integrating Zoom and Teams, we can go one step further, too.
If half your business uses Zoom and the other uses Teams, what happens when they need to message each other?
Working asynchronously is supposed to be easy. So, why, when we go to message our colleagues who use another platform, is the process long-winded?
Either we must revert to email (even though we’re all in on Teams or Zoom) or we send a message and don’t get a reply until our colleague in other departments finally opens their less-preferred platform.
It doesn’t make sense that we have all this intuitive tech and we still can’t chat cross-platform,
Well, actually, we can.
Mio syncs the conversations your employees have on Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Once installed behind the scenes, our tech translates your Teams messages to Zoom Team Chat – and vice versa.
It grabs messages sent from Microsoft Team to Zoom users and delivers them to the other app.
By embracing message interoperability between your two favorite platforms, your users can:
- Stop switching apps to communicate: Everyone can use the messaging app they prefer. No one has to switch to new software or risk being out of the loop.
- Reduce information silos: There’s less risk of files and conversations going missing. Mio connects your conversations and people. Everyone stays on the same page.
- Browse and join any channel: Synchronize channels so you and your colleagues are always on the same page.
Mio supports more than just chat.
Your employees and external contacts can share emojis, files, and links too.
Seems crazy to think we operated any other way.