Microsoft, Telstra launch native voice PSTN calling for Office 365

Microsoft and Telstra have unveiled Australian native voice calling over cloud for Skype for Business and Teams in a long-awaited move to better integrate Office 365 with the publicly switched telephone network (PSTN).

From mid-2018, Telstra Calling for Office 365 will offer native PSTN calling services and negates the need for Office 365’s collaboration suite users to rely on a separate on-premises unified communication and PBX infrastructure.

The product was demonstrated at a launch event hosted by Microsoft and Telstra last week, where executives from both companies promoted the solution to partners and customers as a major game changer in the collaboration and telephony space.

“It used to be that all the telephony and the voice component of Office 365 were on a different infrastructure, they were not running natively out of the Microsoft cloud,” Gianpaolo Carraro, Telstra global application director, said in an interview with CRN.

“So what we’ve done over the last many months is work really closely with Microsoft’s engineering team to bring from within the native interface of Office 365, all the calling capabilities that Telstra has available to our joint customers.”

Telstra will be the preferred provider of the capability for some time, the telco said. Partners will also be instrumental to the feature, with 11 Australian partners so far handpicked to deploy consultation, health checks and call performance analysis, as well as their managed services, around the product.

Launch partner Modality Systems’ country manager Justin Morris said Telstra Calling for Office 365 would introduce the kind of voice infrastructure services that customers expected from a pure cloud productivity and modern workplace way of enabling their employees.

“Where previously customers would have had some infrastructure deployed in their own data centre or a private cloud somewhere and be paying for that separate service incurring capex and opex fees associated with that, this model moves the voice services into Office 365.”

“You can think of them as previously two disparate experiences, where somebody might have a phone on their desk and that wasn’t really integrated into the way they were communicating and collaborating both as a team as well as interacting with customers, we can now take the voice workload and integrate it into applications like Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.”

More than 30 Telstra customers and partners have also been participating in an early adopter program and some 200 customers have taken part in a preview program over the past six months.

Star21 will be a key partner of Telstra Calling for Office 365.

Microsoft general manager for modern workplace Ian Heard said the move was a big step as Microsoft sought to move more customers to the cloud in its entirety.

“We brought out what was called Cloud PBX about 24 months ago now, but it still required on-premises assets to be able to call out to the PSTN world, the announcement we’re making with Telstra is a big step to ensure customers can move their entire voice experience to the cloud and enjoy a complete turnkey solution,” he said.

Speak to your Star21 Account Executive to find out more.