Direct Routing vs Calling Plans in Microsoft Teams


Organizations around the world are migrating to cloud communications as they adapt to the new normal of doing business in 2021. So far, Microsoft's Teams Phone System has been the most popular path for organizations adopting cloud communications.

As popular as it is, most businesses don't know the options available with Teams. Most new Teams users select one of Microsoft's default Calling Plans, a per-user subscription that includes inbound and outbound calling for your team members. Microsoft Calling Plans work fine for some teams, but don't don't provide the coverage or pricing options needed by others.

Fortunately, companies can get everything a Calling Plan provides and more with Direct Routing for Teams. 

First, let's cover the basics of Calling Plans and Direct Routing, and why organizations may choose one over the other.

What are Microsoft Calling Plans?

Microsoft Teams users can call other Team members, but they need a voice service in order to make or receive calls from outside their organization. Calling Plans are Microsoft's default voice services. Microsoft calling plan pricing is charged per user and includes packaged minutes for calls. They are available in 16 countries. 

These plans work for very small customers (usually less than 10-15 employees) in the supported countries. However, if your team is growing, making international calls, or is outside of Microsoft's supported countries, Calling Plans are not going to be a good fit.

Calling Plans in Teams are business voice bundles provided by Microsoft. They include a user’s phone number and a package of minutes for calls.

What is Direct Routing? 

Direct Routing is a function where organizations connect external phone numbers and voice plans to their Teams phone system. Direct Routing is a way to provide a PSTN (public switched telephone network) connection to Microsoft Teams users so that they can make and receive external phone calls.

Direct Routing allows companies to choose voice plans from other carriers to use with Teams. Unlike Calling Plans, which gives Microsoft a monopoly over your voice service, Direct Routing opens up a world of options for your voice plan.  

Teams Direct Routing Solves for Calling Plan Limitations

Not surprisingly, popular use-cases for Direct Routing originated from the limitations of Microsoft's Calling Plans. Direct routing provides a workaround for users that like the Teams Phone System, but need a better voice service than Calling Plans provide. The reasons so many Teams systems use Direct Routing include:

  • Global coverage
  • Cost of ownership
  • Customer support
  • International calls

Global Coverage

Microsoft Teams has two types of Calling Plans, Domestic and Domestic & International. While calling Plans only offer phone numbers in 16 countries, while direct routing services like AVOXI include 170+. The countries available in Teams Callings Plans are: 

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Microsoft also offers 3rd party plans for Australia (provided by Telstra) and Japan (provided by Softbank). 

Microsoft Calling Plans Pricing

Microsoft's rigid pricing plans don't work for everyone. Calling plans are required for any user to take calls, and at $8 - $20 per user, that adds up fast for businesses that have multiple employees answering a relatively small number of calls.

Customer Support

Microsoft Teams doesn't have a reputation of poor support, but they aren't going to be able to respond to tickets as fast as direct routing providers that specialize in voice services.

Outgoing Caller ID

Although you can make outgoing phone calls to just about any country you need to with a Teams calling plan, your selected caller ID controls are not ensured to work internationally, which can be a fatal blow to answer rates. Local dialing solutions like TrueLocal can solve this problem in several locations via direct routing (coverage included below).






South Africa


Saudi Arabia






The United Kingdom


The Netherlands

















Hong Kong







Should You Set Up Direct Routing with Your Teams Phone System?

There are plenty of reasons why direct routing may be a fit for you. We can't say for sure without knowing more about your use-case, but we can tell you why customers tell us they choose as their voice service for direct routing! 

Modernize path to cloud

Global coverage, no hardware required

100% cloud-based, unified communication platform with two-way calling means there is no need to invest in or support additional technology infrastructure. With 20+ years of experience, you can count on AVOXI to provide reliable and geo-redundant service for your enterprise. Our proactive support team monitors voice connectivity and is here to support you 24/7/365.

Connect with Customers Anywhere

Dedicated Support

Don't waste time negotiating contracts or worrying about local carrier regulations. AVOXI services are fully compliant with all in-region legislation and our long tenure of relationships with carriers in local markets means you are getting the best possible rates.

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Easy to use enterprise software

AVOXI offers feature-rich voice technology with unparalleled call quality and reliability. Centralize, configure and analyze all of your business numbers from a single platform. AVOXI's cloud platform includes access to over 40+ business features such as CRM Integration, Analytic Reporting, and WebRTC calling.


Call Quality & Reliable Caller ID

AVOXI gives the local presence you need, with voice coverage in 170+ countries and full PSTN replacement available in twenty countries and counting (including China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Russia and South Africa).

See How Direct Routing Works in Microsoft Teams