Skype for Business Extends Global Reach with AT&T
With its partnership with one of the world’s largest carriers, Microsoft can take Skype for Business even further.
AT&T will be joining forces with Microsoft to deliver Skype for Business to its global user base, AT&T announced earlier this month in a blog post from Abhi Ingle, big data and advanced solutions senior vice president. Available in different delivery modes to AT&T subscribers, Skype for Business will be a mainstream offering in more than 140 AT&T-supported countries.
With this new partnership, AT&T customers will now be able to conduct virtual meetings, connect and collaborate with remote employees and partners, and utilize enhanced VoIP calling (along with dial-in and dial-out as standard telephony), instant messaging, screen sharing and email integration services. This service can also allow up to 1,000 participants on a single Skype for Business call.
AT&T will integrate Skype for Business audio conferencing in several delivery modes based on customer types. This new solution will be available to Skype for Business customers (Microsoft or third-party hosting), AT&T natively hosted Skype for Business environments, on-premises Skype for Business implementations, and AT&T Mobile Office Suite subscribers.
AT&T Global Conferencing with Skype for Business is set to become available later this quarter, and AT&T Global Conferencing is available now on its hosted version of Microsoft Lync.The Makings of a Partnership
In March, AT&T introduced its partnership with Microsoft with the release of its Mobile Office Suite. Earmarked for SMBs, this solution aims to help keep employees connected, collaborative and productive wherever they are by providing convenient access to voice calls, video conferencing, calendars, instant messaging, and desktop and file sharing -- from any device.
AT&T was also named one of Microsoft's first Global Elite Partners for Skype for Business recently, Ingle noted. The March announcement and AT&T's new status as an elite partner set the stage to roll out a larger deal.
This partnership emphasizes Microsoft's aggressive push into the cloud and unified communications landscape where it competes with the likes of Cisco and Avaya. In finding allegiance with one of the largest carriers in the world, Microsoft is shaking up its approach for taking on the UC market.
The new audio conferencing solution will extend the reach of AT&T and Skype for Business customers and bring traditional fixed-line telephony ability to mobile devices. With the integration of global conferencing, Skype for Business users will be accessible from almost anywhere in the world, enabling teams and global offices to collaborate across devices, organizations and countries.
This announcement might seem like the largest possible deal that could be struck between the tech and telco giants, but we should expect more announcements to come from Microsoft and AT&T. AT&T has already affirmed that it will continue finding mutual points of interest with Microsoft, Ingle wrote in the blog post, and they will partner on a number of UC solutions in the future. And as a tech enthusiast, I hope they do.
Reuben Yonatan is founder of GetVoIP, a website helping organizations find the right cloud communication solution.