Is there a way to pool Audio Conferencing licenses?

New Contributor

I have a client that has Skype for Business and wants to move to Teams.  Due to the far flung nature of the business, about 10% of all online meetings require someone to dial-in.  So Audio Conferencing takes care of that.


The issue is that almost anyone in the company of hundreds of employees can "host" a meeting and, with the current COVID-19 situation, the company is not in a position to pay $4/user/mo for this.  I suggested purchasing a small number of licenses and having a pool of users run the meetings.  Alternately, they could purchase a small number of licenses and have someone reassign the licenses as needed.  But of these seem cumbersome to the client - and I would have to agree.


I understand the model of assigning Audio Conferencing to those users that typically host meetings.  Easy to manage.  Easy to control who can use the Audio Conferencing feature.  But expensive for users who only host meetings on rare occasion or for clients where everyone wants to host a meeting.


I would love to see another model that pools Audio Conferencing licenses and allows any of a group of authorized users to access the pool.  Kind of like scheduling a conference room, anyone in the authorized group could reserve one of the licenses for a specific time and then release it.


Is there any licensing model from Microsoft that would allow for this?  Alternately, is there an easily managed way to set this up without requiring someone besides the meeting organizer to be involved?


As far as I can tell, this pooled model would be a real easy sell and keep other 3rd party conference call and hosted online meeting vendors out of our clients.


Hoping someone knows of a way to do this or that it will catch the attention of the powers that be in Microsoft...

2 Replies



You can use something called Communication Credits instead of Audio Conferencing licenses. With Communication Credits you will make dial-in available for all/some users with a pay-per-minute plan. For each caller that dials in to a meeting there with be a credit withdrawn per minute. The amount that will be withdrawn form the credits depends on what country the caller dials from.


For this to work you need another "free" license assigned to users together with the communication credits, that is only available to Volume and Licensing customers via your licensing partner.


You can mix, so for some users that hosts many meetings with many dial-in users it can be worth assigning a Audio Conferencing license and for others that only have dial-in participants in their meetings a few times Communication Credits might be the solution with best value for your organisation.

@Linus Cansby   Thanks for the reply!  I appreciate you telling me about that and it certainly bears further investigation.


I did take a fast look at the Pay-Per-Minute plan and, for calls originating and going to the US, the cost is 1.3 cents/minute for each caller.  For each $4/mo audio conferencing subscription, this translates to just over 300 minutes/mo.  That's 5 hours of calling but 5 dial-in users for an hour long meeting would eat that up in a single meeting.  


So the calculus becomes coming up with the average number of dial-in users per meeting, the average number of meetings per month, the average length of meeting and then comparing that to how many Audio Conferencing licenses and seeing which is a better deal.


Obviously the Audio Conferencing licenses still have the management issue of who can host, while the Pay-Per-Minute can be done by anyone.  


But I still have to imagine that having a pool of Audio Conferencing licenses that can be reserved by an authorized group of users would be easier to manage and much easier to budget for.


So I'm still curious if anyone out there knows of a way to license Audio Conferencing in such a way OR implement it in some way so that only the meeting organizer has to be involved.