Microsoft Operator Connect key terms: What you need to know

Approximately 270 million people use Microsoft Teams every month, making it the dominant platform for business communication and collaboration.

Yet, it’s not ready to become your sole telecom platform on its own. You’ll need to expand its capabilities by integrating a PSTN carrier to enable true business calling. Microsoft presently has three options for PSTN services:

  1. Operator Connect
  2. Direct Routing
  3. Calling Plan

Operator Connect is the latest release allowing organizations to bring any approved PSTN carrier into the Microsoft Teams’ ecosystem. It’s rapidly becoming the go-to method for transforming Teams into a complete UCaaS platform.

However, just like any new technology, it has its terms that need to be clarified. So let’s clear up the significant terms used by Microsoft to describe the capabilities to help you navigate this valuable feature.

Read on to learn everything you need about key terms related to Microsoft Operator Connect so you can cut through the jargon and simplify business communications.

Microsoft Operator Connect Terms to Know

Operator Connect was developed as a simpler alternative to Direct Routing. Both options allow organizations to integrate a PSTN provider with Teams, but Direct Routing is notoriously difficult to set up and manage users.

Microsoft launched Operator Connect to provide organizations with a new way to connect their chosen carrier. Let’s explore relevant terms to know so you can put this new feature to work.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

We’ve already said PSTN a few times, and it’s at the heart of Operator Connect, but what is it?

A Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is the infrastructure and services necessary for telecommunications. It’s a complex network composed of traditional telephone lines, fiber optic cables, and cellular networks, each connected by switching centers to allow users to make and receive calls.

Some organizations try to rely exclusively on VoIP solutions, but most businesses still require PSTN capabilities to place and receive calls from partners and customers.

Microsoft-approved Operator Connect Providers

A Microsoft-Approved Operator Connect provider is a PSTN carrier that has been rigorously tested and evaluated by Microsoft and has been formally included in the Operator Connect program.

You’ll see a few other terms that all refer to the Microsoft-Approved Operator Connect Providers, such as:

  • Operator (Microsoft-Approved is implied depending on context)
  • PSTN carrier or just carrier
  • PSTN provider or just provider

Microsoft themselves consistently uses ‘Operator’ to describe PSTN carriers included in this program. Direct Routing providers are not called Operators, even though they technically do operate the PSTN.

Operator-managed Infrastructure

This term specifies that the Operator manages the PSTN infrastructure, specifically, PSTN calling services and Session Border Controllers (SBCs). You’ll generally see this used by Microsoft to indicate to contact your PSTN operator should any issues arise.

Bring-Your-Own-Carrier (BYOC)

As the latest of the ‘Bring Your Own’ terms found throughout tech, BYOC was popularized by Microsoft specifically for the Operator Connect and Direct Routing programs.

The reasoning behind the term is that you can maintain existing contracts and relationships, integrating your carrier with Microsoft Teams.

Before these programs, Calling Plan was the only option, which required making Microsoft your PSTN provider. So, with the two new options, BYOC specifies that you don’t need to break any agreements.

Emergency 911 (E911)

Emergency 911 is a new compliance requirement for all multi-line systems within the United States, meaning it includes most businesses. Any Operator Connect provider must be E911 compliant to avoid your organization incurring fines and penalties. While Microsoft will evaluate this before approving them, you should also clarify before signing any agreements.

Make Momentum Your Preferred Operator Connect Partner

Operator Connect has an easy setup process alongside simplified user provisioning and management. However, not all Operators have developed a streamlined process, and your experience will vary based on the Operator you choose inside the Teams admin center.

Momentum has developed a simple yet powerful dashboard for setting up and managing Operator Connect. Our initial setup process, porting phone numbers, and user management have been carefully designed to be accessible to anyone, with no need for technical support.

Ready to discover how easy it is to make a Microsoft Teams phone system within just minutes with Momentum Operator Connect? Start a free 14 day Operator Connect trial today to get started.

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