On March 16, Microsoft announced the latest addition to Teams Calling: Operator Connect Mobile, which builds on Operator Connect’s existing capabilities by enabling fixed-mobile convergence for Teams Calling users.
With Microsoft increasingly focused on endpoint agnosticism and unified communications, Operator Connect Mobile is a natural progression. It simplifies the user experience, enables better call quality, and delivers enhanced security policies – everything that Operator Connect aimed for.
In this article, we’ll cover exactly what Operator Connect Mobile does, why it’s such a valuable addition to Teams Calling, and how carriers can start making fixed-mobile convergence a part of their voice offering.
What Exactly is Operator Connect Mobile?
Operator Connect Mobile lets users make and receive calls on a single, SIM-enabled number across different endpoints.
Impressively, though, it solves the friction point that previously occurred when users tried to change between a native mobile call and a Teams call. With an OC Mobile number, all calls made and received are actually Teams calls, even when they’re answered or made from the native dialler – a call could be ‘uplifted’ from the native dialler on a phone to a video call on a laptop without any interruption or change in call quality.
Calls can seamlessly transition from 4G/5G data to WiFi, from native dialler to Teams, from phone to laptop to tablet – and the use cases are endless.
Operating with multiple endpoints? Operator Connect Mobile means you can do it more efficiently.
Taking calls somewhere with bad data or WiFi? Multiple failover options mean better call continuity and quality.
Embracing a hybrid or mobile workplace? Your team stays connected, no matter where they are or what device they’re using.
Users also get to enjoy increased ease of use with just one number for every endpoint, better security with enterprise-grade policies, and fewer overhead costs through the consolidation of disparate fixed-line and mobile services.
For small businesses, in particular, Operator Connect Mobile streamlines the telephony experience. Many small businesses operate predominantly from their mobiles – their mobile numbers are already ‘in the wild’ and are their de facto business number. Adding that number to Microsoft Teams means that all calls to a user can be answered on Teams or the native dialler, and ensures that all outbound calls from either Teams or mobile reflect the user’s mobile CLI, delivering the long-heralded fixed-mobile convergence that allows businesses to transform their customer’s experience. A missed mobile call can now be answered by anyone in the business, on their mobile or on their Teams client.
For organisations and individual users, Operator Connect Mobile is the embodiment of what Teams Calling should be. For carriers, though, delivering OC Mobile can be exceptionally complicated.
How Carriers Can Offer Operator Connect Mobile
To begin offering Operator Connect Mobile, carriers need first to have established infrastructure for Operator Connect. Required investments include:
- Connecting Microsoft Teams to ordering and provisioning systems (OSSs/BSSs)
- Creating customer buying journeys for admins to select plans, numbers, auto-attendants and response groups
- Developing automated tools that program those customer selections to the relevant Teams tenancies to activate calling experiences
- Acquiring multi-tenant SBC platforms for connecting Teams clients to the PSTN
- Ensuring that customers can always manage their own MACDs and connect them to billing systems
- Activating calling and billing for customer go-live
Typically, developing that infrastructure costs upwards of AU$1 million, and takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months. Even for carriers with the necessary capital, the lengthy time to market can make entering the Microsoft voice space costly due to the ‘lost opportunity’ value.
The market opportunity for Operator Connect traverses all markets, but the greatest white space exists in the SOHO/SMB space – around 80% of requests for Operator Connected or direct-routed Teams Calling come from businesses too small to make manual setup financially viable for carriers. That, in turn, has led to around 70% of the Operator Connect market remaining as unclaimed white space that a solution like end-to-end automation can deliver.
The Microsoft voice frontier, though, is exactly that: a temporary theatre that will quickly be claimed as more and more carriers scramble to establish themselves. That means a delay of 12 to 18 months will cost carriers significantly, especially as first movers will gain valuable experience that will allow them to refine their voice delivery.
And if carriers want to deliver OC Mobile? Once their Operator Connect infrastructure has been set up, they still need to integrate their mobile networks with Microsoft. This, in itself, is a resource-intensive and technically complicated process that many carriers simply don’t have the capabilities to carry out.
How Platforms Like TCAP Can Help
The significant barriers to entry are exactly why so much of the market is still unclaimed. Telecom automation platforms like TCAP, though, allow carriers to expedite the setup process at a fraction of the cost.
Rather than manually setting up integrations and self-service functions, carriers can use TCAP to onboard, configure and activate Operator Connect customers with a zero-touch process that takes less than a minute. The platform front-ends existing carrier OSS/BSS infrastructure – DID allocation, calling plan setup, number porting management, and in-life management can be zero-touch, light-touch, or customer-initiated. As a portal, TCAP can be accessed both by carrier personnel and self-service customers, or by carrier personnel only.
Enabling OC Mobile is equally simple. TCAP’s automation engine integrates with both Microsoft and carrier networks, enabling mobile numbers to be designated as Teams numbers with a light-touch process.
Instead of a 12–18 timeframe for a market-ready Operator Connect offering, carriers using TCAP can go live in as little as two weeks, without the prohibitive costs that accompany self-setup infrastructure.
Operator Connect Mobile is a Win for Customers
Operator Connect Mobile matters because it’s a major step towards full fixed-mobile convergence. There is no longer a differentiation between fixed-line and mobile services – and that’s a win for customers everywhere.
The restrictive nature of endpoints is disappearing. Calls won’t have to stay on phones. Landline calls won’t have to stay at the desk. Companies can embrace a truly hybrid work experience where staff shift effortlessly between endpoints to create optimal operational efficiency.
That utopia, though, can only be realised if carriers make it happen. They need to facilitate integration between their networks and Microsoft, a process that platforms like TCAP make simple, fast, and cost-effective.
So, if you’re thinking about adding a Teams Calling offering, talk to us. We’ll walk you through exactly how TCAP can expedite go-live for your organisations, detail the strategic benefits of a Microsoft voice offering, and put together a personalised demonstration of the platform. The Microsoft voice market is an exceptional opportunity for first movers – and TCAP is the best way for carriers to get there.