In 2015 we did a pricing post for Skype for Business topologies. It’s time to revisit and update those numbers.

(The previous pricing post, if you’re curious: Pricing for Skype for Business 2015: 3 Scenarios)

A reader pointed out that the original post is now 2 years old. A lot’s happened since then! The introduction of Teams, Skype for Business Online growing, Microsoft’s focus shifting to Office 365 in general…

I thought about revising the post. But since we do have new tools to consider, and Office 365—not to mention the entire cloud landscape—has changed a lot, a new post made more sense.

The Skype for Business Topology Scenarios We’ll Use

In my original post, I used the following scenarios to illustrate pricing:

  • Scenario 1: 25 users. Office 365 account/Skype for Business Online.
  • Scenario 2: 25 users. Full on-premise Skype for Business Server 2015.
  • Scenario 3: 25 users. Hybrid deployment. Office 365 for primary Skype for Business services, on-premise Skype for Business Server for Enterprise Voice.

For the 2017 version, we’ll modify these scenarios as follows. As before, all users are business users.

  • Scenario 1: 25 and 50 users. Office 365 account/Skype for Business Online.
  • Scenario 2: 25 and 50 users. On-premise Skype for Business Server 2015.
  • Scenario 3: 25 and 50 users. Hybrid deployment. Office 365 for primary Skype for Business services, on-premise Skype for Business Server for Enterprise Voice.
  • Scenario 4: 25 and 50 users. Microsoft Teams, no Skype for Business Online.
  • Scenario 5: 25 and 50 users. Microsoft Teams, plus Skype for Business Online.

Scenario 1: Office 365

Office 365 ServicesPretty much every Office 365 plan has some level of Skype for Business functionality available. These are three such options.

Office 365 Business Essentials Plan: $5.00/user per month
Office 365 Business Premium Plan: $12.50/user per month
Office 365 Enterprise E5 Plan: $35.00/user per month

(I put E5 in because the E5 plan includes advanced Skype for Business features like Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing. If you want to use Skype for Business as a replacement phone system, you’ll need E5.)

With 25 Users: Essentials Plan costs $125/month. Premium Plan costs $312.50/month. E5 Plan costs $875/month.
With 50 Users: Essentials Plan costs $250/month. Premium Plan costs $625/month. E5 Plan costs $1,750/month.

This scenario works for: Small/new businesses. Cloud-based businesses.

Scenario 2: Skype for Business Server 2015 (On-Premise)

Skype for Business Server TopologyAs I did in 2015, I’ll assume 1 Front End in the On-Premise scenario. This front end does require a license.

25 Users:

  • 1 Front End Server License (MSRP) – $3,646.00
  • 25 Standard User CALs – $36.00 each, or $900 total
  • 25 Enterprise User CALs (Conferencing & desktop sharing) – $124.00 each, or $3,100 total
  • 25 Plus User CALs (Voice & call management) – $124.00 each, or $3,100 total

Total: $10,746.00
(3-year license. Includes support from Microsoft.)

50 Users:

  • 1 Front End Server License (MSRP) – $3,646.00
  • 50 Standard User CALs – $36.00 each, or $1,800 total
  • 50 Enterprise User CALs (Conferencing & desktop sharing) – $124.00 each, or $6,200 total
  • 50 Plus User CALs (Voice & call management) – $124.00 each, or $6,200 total

Total: $17,846.00
(3-year license. Includes support from Microsoft.)

In order to enable voicemail in an on-premise topology, you will also need an Exchange Server, plus user licenses for each voicemail box.

  • 1 Exchange Server (Enterprise) License – $4,051
  • 50 Standard User CALs (MS Open License) – $5.00 each, or $250 total
  • 50 Enterprise User CALs (MS Open License) – $55.00 each, or $2,750 total

Total: $7,051.00

This scenario works for: Businesses who need to store data on-premise for security reasons, or who require features unsupported within Office 365. Businesses who prefer controlling their own servers. Enterprises.

Scenario 3: Hybrid (Office 365 with a Skype for Business Server for Enterprise Voice)

Skype for Business HybridIn this scenario you could use either E1 or E3 for Office 365. I’ll use E3, assuming you want full hybrid capabilities.

25 Office 365 user accounts, E3 plan – $500/month, or $6,000/year.
Skype for Business Enterprise Voice is installed on-premise.
1 Front End Server License (MSRP), required for Enterprise Voice – $3,646.00
25 Plus User CALs (for Enterprise Voice) – $124.00 each, or $3,100 total
Total (for 1 year): $12,746.00

50 Office 365 user accounts, E3 plan – $1,000/month, or $12,000/year.
Skype for Business Enterprise Voice is installed on-premise.
1 Front End Server License (MSRP), required for Enterprise Voice – $3,646.00
50 Plus User CALs (for Enterprise Voice) – $124.00 each, or $6,200 total
Total (for 1 year): $21,846.00

This scenario works for: Businesses with an existing Exchange Server or Office 365 accounts. Businesses who already use Hybrid Cloud for other systems.

Scenario 4: Microsoft Teams, no Skype for Business Online

This is a bit of a misnomer. Every Office 365 plan that includes Teams, also includes Skype for Business.

However, if your focus is on Teams and not Skype for Business, you can get away with a lower-cost Office 365 plan. I would recommend E1—you don’t get the fully-installed Office apps (just the online versions), but you do get email and video conferencing.

Office 365 Enterprise E1 Plan: $8.00/user per month

With 25 Users: E1 Plan costs $200/month.
With 50 Users: E1 Plan costs $400/month.

This scenario works for: Startups & small businesses with remote workers. Businesses and Organizations whose employees travel frequently.

Scenario 5: Microsoft Teams + Skype for Business

Microsoft Teams LogoOnly the Enterprise plans make sense in this scenario. If you want Teams and Skype for Business available, you’ll want as many of their advanced features as you can get (within budget).

Office 365 Enterprise E1 Plan: $8.00/user per month
Office 365 Enterprise E3 Plan: $20.00/user per month
Office 365 Enterprise E5 Plan: $35.00/user per month

With 25 Users: E1 Plan costs $200/month. E3 Plan costs $500/month. E5 Plan costs $875/month.
With 50 Users: E1 Plan costs $400/month. E3 Plan costs $1,000/month. E5 Plan costs $1,750/month.

This scenario works for: Larger cloud-friendly businesses. Businesses with distributed teams/remote workers.

Remember: Office 365 Pricing is Monthly. On-Premise Pricing is One-Time.

monthly budget photo
Photo by cafecredit

On-prem always looks more expensive up front. But you’ll have to factor Office 365’s monthly costs into the budget if you go that route. Always bears repeating.

I used 25 and 50 users here because it’s easy to see how the pricing changes for doubled users. Few businesses have exactly 25 or 50 users, of course. You’ll need to adapt the numbers to your own user count. Hopefully I’ve made it easy to do so.

Don’t forget, you’ll still need hardware to use Skype for Business and/or Teams! If nothing else, a good headset for each client, and a high-quality video camera for any conference rooms. (The camera in most devices works fine for users’ video calls.)

Here’s a couple headset recommendations if you’re looking:

(Don’t worry, more device reviews are coming!)

These pricing numbers are accurate as of today, September 20, 2017. Now that we have a new version of Skype for Business Server coming, they may change in the coming months. Make sure to confirm with Microsoft (or your IT partner) before clicking Buy!

Pricing for Skype for Business and Teams: The 2017 Update
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