Microsoft Teams Meetings: Free vs. Paid

Is the free version of Microsoft Teams enough, or is it necessary to upgrade to a paid plan for the purpose of video meetings? To help you determine which is best for your business, we outline the key differences between the free and paid versions of MS Teams Meetings.

Microsoft Teams is a powerful tool for connecting and engaging with your team. Along with providing chat features and collaborative file sharing, Teams provides a robust video platform for hosting large group meetings.

As a virtual meeting and event management company, Worktank has helped many global organizations and Fortune 500 companies get the most out of MS Teams’ integrated event tools. One question we are occasionally asked is if the free version of Microsoft Teams is enough, or if it’s necessary to upgrade to a paid plan for the purpose of video meetings. The answer, of course, is “it depends”, but to help you determine which is best for your business, we’ve outlined the key differences between the free and paid versions below.

Free vs. Paid Comparison: MS Teams Meetings & Events

The difference between the free and paid versions of Microsoft Teams Meetings can be broken down into three main categories: Live Event Capabilities, Audience Size Limits and Recording Capabilities.

Live Event Capabilities

  • Microsoft Teams Free – not available
  • Microsoft Teams Paid – included

There are two ways to meet in Microsoft Teams: Meetings and Live Events. Teams Meetings are designed for real-time collaborating and conversation among groups of people. They include audio, video and screen sharing, and both internal and external users can join a Teams Meeting.

Live events, on the other hand, are designed for presentation style meetings to large internal and external audiences of up to 10,000 attendees in a “view only” mode. Live Events allow multiple, virtual presenters to share audio, webcams and their screens to present content. Live Events also have an “external” mode, which allows for the transmission of high-quality video using professional broadcast-level tools.

With the free version of Teams, you do not have the capability to host live events, which means you will not be able to transmit high-quality video using professional broadcast tools. You’ll also be limited by audience size.

Audience Size Limits

  • Microsoft Teams Free – up to 300 participants (previously 100) for Meetings
  • Microsoft Teams Paid – up to 1,000 participants for Meetings

Perhaps the most obvious difference between MS Teams Free vs. Paid is the maximum number of participants permitted in a meeting. Since the free version of Teams does not offer Live Event mode, the maximum amount of participants you can have in any meeting is currently 300 (up from 100, which was Microsoft’s limit pre-pandemic.) If your organization needs the capability to present to large audiences of more than 300 people, you’ll need to upgrade to a Microsoft Teams paid version.

Recording Capabilities

  • Microsoft Teams Free – not available
  • Microsoft Teams Paid – included

Any Teams meeting, live event or group call can be recorded to capture audio, video, and screen sharing activity with a paid version of Microsoft Teams. The recording happens in the cloud, and is saved with Microsoft Stream so you can share it securely across your organization.

Unfortunately, meeting recording is not available with the free version of Teams. If recording your meetings and live events is an important feature for your organization, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.

What’s Best for Your Organization?

As with many business decisions, the answer really depends on your organization’s needs and goals. In general, the free version of Microsoft Teams is a great solution for small to mid-sized organizations that need an internal video communications platform. However, for larger corporations, global organizations and Fortune 500 companies, a paid subscription often makes more sense simply because it includes Live Event and recording capabilities, and allows for much larger audiences.

Microsoft Teams is a powerful platform, and Worktank is excited about the experiences it can empower.

Our MS Teams services include:

  • Event configuration
  • Content planning and testing
  • Presenter readiness
  • Accessibility features (ASL interpreters, closed captions)
  • Production-quality enhancements (making a “TV show” from Teams meeting content, or blending in-person and remote presenters)
  • Engagement tools (how to manage Q&A, use of external tools such as )

We have experience with MS Teams creation and management in support of an event, providing a gathering spot and building a community for attendees outside of the live event. For organizations using Yammer, Worktank has experience integrating the power of the Teams Live Event broadcast within the Yammer environment.

If you’d like to learn more about making the move to Microsoft Teams to engage with your clients and colleagues, contact us or call 1-877-WRKTANK.

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Brian

Brian Snyder, Senior Director of Technology, Strategy & Solutions

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