What is TCO365?
Or, What is Telstra Calling for Office 365?
In a world-first offering, Telstra Calling for Office 365 is a solution offered by Telstra to allow Australian consumers to access cloud-based PSTN calling plans in conjunction with their Microsoft Office 365 account.
Previously, this was done by deploying a potentially costly Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) solution, or an on-premise server. In other countries, access to PSTN calling with Microsoft is done very differently to how it’s done here in Australia.
The primary platform the users then use to make their phone calls is Microsoft Teams, though some organisations may opt for a hybrid deployment with Skype For Business until S4B is end of life.* (Best practice is to transition fully to Microsoft Teams, as the feature-rich platform allows for true collaboration.)
The goal is to bring your users to a single app for a rich user experience, whilst also being fiscally responsible: your organisation is likely already paying for Microsoft 365 Enterprise licensing, so why not take advantage of all the tools that are at your disposal? Consolidation of costs for PABX systems and maintenance, calling rates, chat applications and other collaboration platforms, file storage, security, BI, etc, ensures that you’re not over-paying, and getting a real return on investment for the technology stack you have.
Telstra’s announcement video
What makes Telstra Calling for Office 365 so great? The features available with TCO365 are there to make your life oh-so-easy, both as an end user, and as an IT Administrator.
Work from anywhere, anytime – true flexible working
No one could have predicted 2020 would have gone the way did (except maybe the Simpsons), but organisations who had already switched (or were in the process of switching) to Microsoft Teams didn’t break a sweat when the lockdowns came. Home or office, it didn’t matter. Give your Teams deployment an upgrade by moving your calling plans to TCO365.
Full voice functions* with built-in audio and video conferencing
You can still have traditional call handling functions like hold, transfer, forwarding and voicemail in the cloud, with the added bonus of audio and video conferencing, and so much more. With the addition of other integrations, you can also expand to have your call centre capabilities integrated into the system.
Truly Unified Communications – One Source of Truth
Telstra Calling for Microsoft Office 365 brings together your key business tools under a single business number. Consolidate and strengthen your organisation’s technology stack and enable your organisation to be more effective in their daily workflows due to a centralised workspace, cloud data and file storage, and a cohesive user experience across familiar tools.
Take full advantage of Microsoft’s security and compliance by more expansively using the Microsoft licencing you’re already paying for.
Connect your teams more effectively
See who’s available and contact them on the most appropriate channel: voice, video calling or chat. Reduce clutter in your inbox and make communication more efficient.
Present a professional image
One business number lets you make and receive calls whether in the office or on the road. Remote and firstline workers no longer need to rely on giving out their personal mobile, or carrying two phones with them all the time for their privacy. In addition, a full-featured meeting and calling platform ensures smooth meetings with external stakeholders as well as internal.
Ability to access growth funds
If you are a Telstra Managed Customer, you may qualify to access funding for your deployment, or a TCO365 Pilot. Give us a call and we can help discover if you qualify.
Easy to Administrate
Your VOIP solution will now be managed through your Office 365 Admin Portal – making your IT admin tasks easier to carry out.
Calling – Simplified
Local calls? Long distance calls? Video conference calls? Mobile calls? Make and receive all types of calls under the single business number.
Or, Why Choose Telstra Calling for Office 365?
A true unified collaboration experience, with mixed mediums of communication
Having all (or the majority of) your workflows and technology integrated into one platform is true definition of unified communications. This will allow your teams to communicate in more than just text and collaborate in real time. When you add human elements such as voice and video, communication and collaboration become richer and more efficient.
Relatively simple in comparison to other options
Deploy, manage and scale with ease. Work with a preferred TCO365 Partner to ensure that your team is fully supported throughout the process of the initial deployment.
The best of both worlds = Carrier Plus Technology
Co-created by Telstra and Microsoft – both are market leaders in innovation. Work with a Partner who is Gold Certified by both to make sure you get the most experience and knowledge to help you.
Simplify billing and budgeting
Still under an existing Telstra contract? Continue using your current negotiated calling rates with Telstra Calling for Office 365. Billed through your Telstra bill, TCO365 enables you to streamline outgoing communications expenses. Instead of paying for conferencing, call recording, voice, chat software, Office 365, etc, pay for your unified communications solution all on one bill.
How Does TCO365 Work?
Telstra Calling for Office 365 makes calling simple. Telstra provides the link to allow you to bring all voice calling directly into the Office 365 cloud.
Previously, organisations had to set up expensive and non-scalable hard-wired infrastructure and equipment on-premises to deliver their voice calling solution. Now, with nothing more than adequate internet access, a laptop, and a certified headset or speakerphone, members of your organisation can have their full-featured voice calling, audio and video conferencing, and all collaboration tools at their fingertips, anywhere and anytime.
How TCO365 Works
At a basic level, the administration of TCO365 is as simple as the administration of Office 365. Users are allocated their phone number in the Office 365 Admin Portal. Organisations can choose to use their existing numbers and port/migrate them into Office 365 or choose and allocate new numbers. As your organisation grows, it is simply part of allocating the new member their Office 365 licence to get them set up with their new number.
You need to ensure you have the right Microsoft 365 licence to enable TCO365, and yes, you do need to have a current Microsoft 365 subscription. In addition, the organisation must have at least 20 users.
Skype or Teams?
Skype for Business Online vs Skype for Business On-Premise vs Microsoft Teams?
There are pros and cons to all three of Microsoft’s current calling solutions. It comes down to assessing your organisation’s requirements, and your IT strategy moving forward. From there, it comes down to a process of elimination.
It is important to note that you cannot access Telstra Calling for Office 365 using Skype for Business On-Premise. You can absolutely have access to Microsoft Teams and all its collaborative functions, but the PSTN calling functionality (the ability to dial external numbers) within the platform relies on the cloud capabilities. Therefore, porting of existing telephone numbers can only be done if the users are “homed online.”
In addition, the deployment of a Skype for Business Server (as well as the redundancies and maintenance needed to ensure reliable connectivity) is a costly endeavour, and not a small project. For the majority of organisations still using a traditional PABX phone system, it would be wiser to transition straight to a cloud-based solution. Customers on OCS or Lync would be the only ones who would be well-served by transitioning to Skype for Business 2019 on-premise as part of their journey.
Essentially then, the question is “Skype for Business Online or Microsoft Teams,” as a Skype for Business On-Premise deployment will not work with Telstra Calling for Office 365.
Compare the pair:
|Skype For Business||Teams|
|End date||S4B Online: 31 July 2021|
S4B 2019: 14 Oct 2025
|Meeting Participant Limit||250||300 in a regular meeting, 10,000 using Microsoft Teams Live Events *|
|Document Sharing||Sort of (you must share from OneDrive, SharePoint, or a copy of a document)||Yes – share live documents that can be edited in real time, simultaneously|
|Collaboration (white boarding, shared folders, project management integration, 3rd party tool integration, etc)||No||Yes|
Skype for Business Online, as stated above, has an end of life date of 31 July 2021. If you are not yet on Skype for Business, it would not make sense to make the investment to go from, for example, a PABX phone system, to Skype for Business Online, when you will have to switch to Microsoft Teams anyway mid-2021.
Why the Cloud Collective?
An alliance partnership of three Microsoft Gold Partners, we have the experience, relationship, and proven track record with both Microsoft and Telstra, and across the full Microsoft suite of products. Our experts in Enterprise Voice and Video Conferencing, IComm originally started in the world of PABX. With twenty years’ experience in voice communications, and twelve of those in Microsoft Voice (including OCS, Lync, Skype for Business, and now Microsoft Teams), IComm is highly specialised around Enterprise Voice deployments, and was one of only eleven Early Adopter Partners allowed access to TCO365 when it was first launched in 2018.
Engaging with the Cloud Collective means that you no longer have to search for a Microsoft Partner to help with each specialisation. End-to-end-solutions, not point to point: that’s what we provide.
Here are a few articles on TCO365 and Unified Comms
Unified Communications System Versus Separate Communications Systems
Making a decision about the best approach for your organisation when it comes to a communications system or systems can feel like mission impossible. It’s a complex decision and there’s no right or wrong answer.
Myths Busted: 6 Myths About The Cloud That Need To Go
There are many myths surrounding the public cloud, find out if your perception is closer to reality, or if you are falling prey to the myths surrounding cloud computing.
Microsoft Teams vs Slack
Both Microsoft Teams and Slack are most commonly used collaboration tools used worldwide. However if you are grappling over which one is better? Read on to find out.
Telstra Calling for Office 365 (or TCO365 for short) is a cloud-based VoIP calling solution, using Microsoft Teams as the calling platform, and Telstra as the hosting carrier.
This varies widely, and is dependent on the plan you are on, and your account agreement with Telstra.
In a sense, yes. In other countries, Microsoft manages the calling plans for Microsoft Teams Voice, in a different way to how it is done in Australia. Telstra Calling for Office 365 is how Microsoft and Telstra are jointly providing the calling capabilities to Australian organisations, in a world-first offering.
No, you can deploy Telstra Calling for Office 365 with Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1 in 32-bit and 64-bit, or Windows 10. For Mac users, they must be running iOS 10.11, El Capitan. However, we do recommend that users are on Windows 10 or the newest iOS, as that will provide the optimal user experience.
Previously, on its’ own, no. However, Microsoft has changed Office 365, calling it Microsoft 365, and that bundles Office 365 with Windows 10, to ensure you always have the most up to date version of Windows operating system.
In our opinion, absolutely. One of the biggest issues that clients face is the ongoing investment of upgrading their Windows Operating System every couple of years, and the resulting hassles that come with that major change. This eliminates both the large investment (as it’s now part of your monthly subscription), and takes the operating system to a sustainable, updatable model that is more manageable for IT teams.
Your subscription to TCO365 will no longer continue. The service is based on your licence subscription to Microsoft 365, so calling will cease, and you will need to port your numbers to another service.
Unfortunately, no. Office 365, now called Microsoft 365, has multiple different types of accounts available, and none of them are free. It is important to note that Telstra Calling for Office 365 is only deployable on certain types of Enterprise licences. In addition, there are sizable discounts available to education customers, and non-profit organisations, so if you’re interested in pursuing either of those options, please reach out and we can help you figure that out.
Initially when Telstra Calling for Office 365 came out, the conditions to qualify were quite strict, in order to manage the influx of interested organisations. However, now that the service has been around for over a year, the only requirement is that the organisation has a minimum of 20 users on the appropriate Microsoft 365 licensing.
As part of the deployment process, we apply to port your number from your existing carrier (or existing account if you’re already with Telstra) over to Telstra’s hosted solution.