A regular question I get asked by people is what are the licensing requires for a Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) system? Microsoft has made it very simple, they have a Meeting Room license that includes all you need for an MTR. It is essentially an E5 license without the Office Apps. However many organisations different setups in terms of Skype for Business and Exchange. The good news is that Microsoft Teams is always in the cloud. The Meeting Room license is $15/£11.30 and there is also a free trial available.
So if we start out with Microsoft Teams. This is available for free, as there is free Microsoft Teams for users in organisations with less than 300 users. Microsoft Teams is also included with most plans when you are on a paid subscription. But can you sign into an MTR with a free Teams license account? Well, of course, you can. It just works. However, when using this account, you cannot fall back to Skype for Business and you get an annoying banner like below, as there is no Teams only mode on the MTR. But you can do a Meet Now, invite the MTR, do a Point to Point call.
So if you have Skype for Business, you can be online, hybrid or on-premises. You need to assign the Client Access license for the MTR or assign it within the Office 365 portal. This means the MTR will be able to sign in to the Skype for Business side of the MTR app. Why might you need this? Well if you are in a transition from Skype to Teams, you’ll probably need both accounts. The MTR can be used for both at the same time as I discussed here in a previous post.
Then we move onto Microsoft Exchange. This is the final piece of the jigsaw to make an MTR work as it should. It will provide that Join button on the home screen so users can simply press Join to start their meeting. If you are signing in with the free version of Microsoft Teams, remember there is no mailbox there. The way Exchange should be set up for the MTR is that it should be a Resource Mailbox. Resource Mailboxes are free and do not require an Exchange license. However, the mailbox must have a password set on it with an Active Directory or Azure Active Directory account. I’ve documented how to set up the account here.
When you have a Meeting Room license, this also includes a Phone System and Audio Conferencing license. So the Phone System license (previously Cloud PBX) allows you to make and receive calls internally, makes the device a phone. However, it does not give it external PSTN dial tone, you will need to add on a calling plan for that or use Direct Routing. The Audio Conferencing licensing provides the ability to dial into a Microsoft Teams meeting. You can also check which region these are available in from this site on the Microsoft docs site.
I’m actually not sure why you need either of these because you can make a Teams to Teams call with a Teams license and there is no invite coming out from the MTR system, you don’t need a dial-in number. The user initiating the Meeting Invite will need the Audio conferencing license so it’s in their Teams Signature like below.
Finally, you have Microsoft Intune available to manage the system as well.
So how do you set this up with these five licenses? I have documented that here in a blog post, based on everything being in Office 365.
What happens if you don’t have a Meeting Room license and you have a pool of E3/E5 licenses available. Well, of course, you can assign them one of these licenses if you have some spare or want to do some testing. You are essentially wasting the Office Apps licenses on an MTR system. What you must not do is assign the meeting room an Office 365 Business license as this is just Office Apps and no Skype or Teams licensing.
To see what licenses you have for the Room System account, you can log into Office Portal using the resource account and see them under https://portal.office.com/account/#subscriptions
So that is it, licensing made simple for Microsoft Teams Room systems. Feel free to add any comments below.