Microsoft is enabling mobile phone identities with Teams in the upcoming Operator Connect mobile service
Microsoft last week introduces Operator Connect Mobilea new feature coming soon that promises to make Teams calls and mobile phone connections smoother.
Microsoft plans to release a preview of Operator Connect Mobile in “next quarter”. It plans a commercial “general availability” version of the service “from the second half of 2022”.
When released, Operator Connect Mobile will require a “standard/E5 Teams Phone [license] and the OCM add-on SKU,” Microsoft explained in the comments section of the announcement.
SIM cards for team calls
The idea behind Connect Mobile Operator is that subscriber identity modules (SIMs) used with mobile phones will be enabled for calls on other devices, such as desk phones, laptops, tablets, or any device that enables the service of Microsoft Teams collaboration. Carrier Connect Mobile offers a so-called “device agnostic” approach that lets users switch a voice phone call to a Teams session without much effort, what Microsoft calls an “uplift.”
Organizations can assign a single SIM-capable mobile phone number to their employees as part of the Operator Connect Mobile program. Employees will have access to their call histories, voicemail, and presence features on Microsoft Teams and their mobile devices. The contacts of their teams will be provided on their mobile phones.
IT pros can set Teams security policies for mobile devices using Operator Mobile Connect. Organizations also benefit from features such as call recording and retention capabilities for mobile voice calls with the service.
Carrier Mobile Connect has been described as the “first fixed mobile convergence productivity solution for enterprises” by Mahendra Sekaran, vice president of program management for Microsoft Teams, in a Microsoft Mechanics video:
By leveraging the reliable connectivity fabric between our telecommunications partners and the Microsoft cloud, we are now able to deliver the first fixed mobile convergence productivity solution for businesses. This means that instead of two work numbers for your landline and mobile phone, you can optimize for a single SIM-capable mobile number and calls are routed to your mobile phone, desk phone or PC simultaneously.
Microsoft Mechanics video showed a Teams call ringing simultaneously on a mobile phone and in Microsoft Teams, which was done without installing a Teams app on the mobile device, it was said. Users can answer the call in both directions. They can also switch the call between devices or add participants to the call.
Azure for Operators
Microsoft has described Operator Connect Mobile as using its Azure for Operators services to connect a mobile operator’s network to the “Microsoft Office 365 cloud”. Specifically, Metaswitch’s Mobile Control Point technology, Perimeta Session Border Controller and Managed Service Calling capabilities for Teams are utilized. Microsoft announced its acquisition of Metaswitch in 2020.
Operator Mobile Connect also leverages Microsoft’s existing Operator Connect partner service for integration with Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phone calls, which was released last year. Operator Connect allows the organization to use operator phone numbers with Microsoft Teams, with the Microsoft Azure network backbone used for voice traffic. This traffic is then routed through Microsoft’s telecommunications partners to a PSTN phone line.