FAQ: University Transition to Microsoft Teams Voice

The way we operating is changing dramatically. The Office of Information Technologies is routinely looking for ways to meet your needs, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The University of Idaho, like many other organizations across the country, is moving its phone system to Microsoft Teams. By enhancing capabilities within our current Teams application we can meet the needs of our employees, and streamline functionality.


This article addresses Frequently Asked Questions regarding the University of Idaho's transition from a VoIP-based phone system to Microsoft Teams Calling/Voice. This FAQ will be updated frequently with more questions and answers as well as update content. Please check back regularly.


Questions About the Transition to Microsoft Teams Voice


Q1: Why is the university replacing its existing phone system with Microsoft Teams Voice?

Microsoft Teams has been integral to our current communication methods. Replacing our existing phone system with Microsoft Teams Voice provides numerous improvements, such as:

  • “All-in-one” Communication
  • Enhanced Mobility
  • Multiple-device Support
  • Improved Service Features and Call Controlling
  • Greater Reporting Tools for IT Administrators
  • Simplified Processes for Call Queues and Auto Attendants
  • An Overall Reduction in Cost to the University of Idaho

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Q2: How will I know when I will be migrated?

As of Spring of 2023, the transition is in a pilot phase. OIT and Jabber users will be migrated by the end of April. After the pilot group has been migrated the full migration will be planned. It is expected to begin in the Fall of 2023 to be completed by the Fall of 2024. The expectation is the transition will be completed well before that time.  Migrations will be happening by department or college and you will be contacted well in advance to establish your needs and preferences.

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Q3: What is the difference between my current phone and Teams Voice?

The current Cisco Phone system uses a handset on your desk, or in some cases, the Jabber client which is used to make a call using an application on your computer, smart phone, or tablet.  The common term is softphone (short for software phone). 

Microsoft Teams users will have their phone services provided within the Teams software on your desktop or laptop computer. The experience is much like the Zoom and Teams meetings you attend now.  Teams makes use of a webcam, microphone, and speaker that are either part of your devices or separate camera and head set with a microphone. Traditional physical handsets, much like you see on your desk now, will be available in special cases.  Those handsets will work pretty much like the current Cisco handset with features and functions of Teams built in. 

You can submit a hardware purchase ticket with OIT, if you do not have a headset/speakerphone or webcam currently.  These items can also be purchased through Jaggaer if your needs expand beyond what OIT keeps in stock.

Once your number has been migrated to Teams Voice, you will see a dial pad appear under the “Calls” button on the left side of Teams.  From there, you will use the dial pad or the contacts list to make outside calls. Whether you have an assigned phone number or not, you will be able to communicate internally with your U of I colleagues using Teams. 

See knowledge base article Teams Quick Training Modules: Calls for on Teams instructions.  A downloadable desk guide is available at the bottom of this article. Follow this link to Microsoft YouTube video Get Started with Teams Phone in Microsoft Teams

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Q4: How does this change my phone service?

  • The typical university employee will use Teams chat video or audio call to communicate with each other instead of making a traditional phone call. Zoom or Teams meetings can be setup to communicate with those outside the university.
  • For many, there will no longer be a telephone on your desk.
    • The Cisco telephone on your desk will go away after the migration is completed.
    • A subset of people will get a Teams compatible handset as needed.
  • Teams calling will require 10 digit dialing to make an outside call but do NOT need to dial 8 to get out.
  • It is expected you will use Teams chat video or audio calling when communicating with university faculty, staff, and students (as you can do now).
  • If you are on the old system, you will have to call people migrated to the new system just like you call people outside of the university. Dial 8 to get out of the system then use full 10 digits (3 digit area code- 3 digit prefix-4 digit number). Better yet, use Teams chat to contact them.
  • Departments or individuals may determine they do not need traditional telephone service.  Additionally, many current phone numbers are not being used at all or infrequently. The project team will work with departments to determine whether existing lines should be migrated to Teams or disconnected.
  • Traditional phone services will still be available including voicemail, conference calling, transferring, and setting delegates.
  • Those regularly making or receiving telephone calls with external numbers will receive enhanced Teams calling capabilities.
  • Follow this link to Microsoft YouTube video Get Started with Teams Phone in Microsoft Teams

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Q5: Will my current phone number stay the same?

Yes. Maintaining avenues of communication is essential for everyone at the U of I.  Regardless of whether you have a phone number assigned to you, every UI employee, student, and staff member has the ability to use Microsoft Teams to call internally. Teams Voice allows users to place calls outside of the university from a university phone number.

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Q6: Who will get a handset?

Not everyone will get a handset. It is anticipated almost all people will go through the Teams application on their computer to make a call. Just like Zoom and Teams meetings, you will use headset with a microphone and/or a speakerphone through your computer.

OIT will work with individuals and departments to determine if a handset is needed. One possible example are people who monitor several phone lines like administrative assistants might get a handset for their desk.

Please Note: A physical Teams phone handset will allow you to receive calls from multiple lines similar to the Teams desktop application, but is limited to calling out as a single line. As an alternative, the desktop application allows for this functionality. 

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Q7: I have been migrated. How do I dial someone outside the university?

If your university phone number was migrated to Teams, you no longer have to dial 8 to get an outside line.  You will need to use 10 digit dialing to contact someone when calling outside the University. In Teams, click on Calls in the left column, use the dial pad to make a call. Here is a link to instructions.

For those who did not get Teams Voice license but on that infrequent occasion you do need to make an outside call, you can use a common area phone. Common area phones are deployed to departments as requested.

You can also create a Teams or Zoom meeting with people outside the university to communicate with them. 

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Q8: Can I make 911 Calls

Teams Voice supports emergency calls made to 911. However, it is recommended that whenever possible emergency calls are made using a cell phone. In most cases cell phones are a better option for calling 911 as they provide the caller with mobility, have the potential to provide better location accuracy, and are generally available during power outages and network outages. All 911 callers, regardless of which telephone system is used, should be prepared to provide an emergency dispatcher with the address of their emergency.

It is important to note that Teams Voice will be offline during power outages and network outages. During these times cell phones will be the only option for calling 911. 

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Q9: How do I look up someone in MS Teams to call them

Any university employee or student can make a call from Teams chat to any other employee or student right now. Here are instructions on how start a call from a chat in Teams (both desktop and mobile).

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Q10: How do I call someone who has been migrated to new system?

First option is to use Teams chat to call any university employee. Not all employees will have their number migrated to Teams Voice so calling through Teams chat is the best method to contact someone within the university. Here are instructions on how start a call from a chat in Teams (both desktop and mobile).

If the person who was migrated does have a Teams Voice license and, thus, kept their phone number, you can call that number by dialing their full 10 digit number. Here are instructions to use the dial pad to make a call in Teams.

If you have not been migrated you treat the call just like an outside call, dial 8 to get out and call their full 10 digit number. Again, the first option is to use Teams chat to contact any university employee.

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Q11: I have been migrated. How do I call someone who has not been migrated?

Any university employee or student can make a call from Teams chat to any other employee or student right now. Here are instructions on how start a call from a chat in Teams (both desktop and mobile).

You can call their number by dialing their full 10 digit number- no need to dial 8 to get out. Here are instructions to use the dial pad to make a call in Teams.

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Q12: How do I get Teams installed on my computer?

Microsoft Teams should already be installed on University provided Windows or Apple computers. If not, see How to use Software Center (Windows) or Installing Application on Mac Computers via Self Service for instructions. If you are having a problem create a Software Install request to engage your TSP.

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Q13: Can I use Teams on my cell phone? Do I have to use my cell phone?

Yes, you can use Teams on your cell phone. First, you must install Intune Company Portal. You do not need to open Intune Company Portal, it only needs to be present on the device for Teams to function properly (just like Outlook). You can then install Teams from the appropriate store for your OS.

You do NOT have to use Teams on your cell phone. This decision is between you and your supervisor.

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Q14: How will a visitor make a call while at a university location?

OIT will work with departments and colleges to determine if a Common Area Phone is needed in their area for both visitors or university employees without a Teams Voice license.

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Q15: How do I get help using Teams and Teams Voice?

Microsoft has great support documentation not only on Teams Voice but the entire Teams application including step by step instructions and videos. This is a great way to get instant answers to specific questions. See Microsoft Teams help & learning.

For quick videos, you can visit the Microsoft Teams Youtube Channel. If you have been provided a phone number in Microsoft Teams, we recommend you watch the Get Started with Teams Phone playlist for a quick overview of how to use the Teams Phone features.

There are several knowledge base articles on Teams specific to the university. See the right column for Related Articles.

Join the UofI IT Community Microsoft Team. This is an informal space to ask about IT topics. Here you can ask questions or share something you just learned. It is open to the entire U of I community. OIT staff will keep an eye on the discussions and will try to provide some answers. Please submit a ticket if you have an issue to get help from TSP (see below).

Of course, your TSP is available to help with specific issues or questions. Please submit a Phone Service ticket for help with calling issues. Please submit a Teams, Zoom & Collaboration Assistance ticket for help with Teams.

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Q16: What is the minimum requirements for my computer to run Teams?

Windows: Minimum 1.1 GHz or faster, two core; 4 GB RAM memory; 3.0 GB available disk space; 1024x768 screen resolution, Win 11, 10; video camera (standard laptop camera), microphone, and speakers (or headset with microphone).

macOS: Minimum Intel Core Duo processor; 4 GB RAM memory; 1.5 GB of available disk space; 1280x800 screen resolution; one of the 3 most recent versions of macOS (as of 3/13/23 Big Sur, Monterey, Ventura); webcam, microphone and speakers (or headset with microphone).

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Q17: What equipment do I need for Teams and Teams calling? Where can I purchase it?

Most people will use the computer via headset/speakerphone and webcam, they are already using for Zoom meetings. Headset is appropriate for people working in shared space while some people working in a private office might prefer a speakerphone. A webcam is not required if you have a laptop but most people prefer a webcam. You can submit a hardware purchase ticket if you do not have a handset/speakerphone or webcam.

A few people have roles and responsibilities that requires a standard phone handset. The migration team will work with you if you fall into that category to define what model of phone handset you need.

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Q18: Will my department be charged to migrate to Microsoft Teams Voice? Will my department get any money back from the cost savings?

There are no charges to the department unless someone needs peripherals such as webcam or headset/speakerphone. Departments will not be getting any money back as they are not paying for telephone service now. Cost savings will be put into IT services, providing the university community more and better service.

Q19: Where can I update my information in the University Online Directory?

To modify employee Campus Contact Information (campus phone number, office location or department name) please fill out this form.

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