'Meeting Room' license vs 'Common Area Phone' license vs 'E1+Phone System' license

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We have 7 meetings rooms (a mix of Polycom VVX and Logitech SmartDocks), what is the best way to license them? I can see there is a thing called 'Meeting Room' which is $20.60, 'Common Area Phone' which is $11.00 or 'E1+Phone System' which is $20.40.


What should I be using? and what is the difference between them?




19 Replies

Common Area Phone will give you the Skype for Business/Teams capabilities and Phone System licenses, so this is for a basic phone like a Polycom VVX in a common area (like a conference room).


With the Meeting Room license you get more stuff: Teams, Skype for Business, Phone System, Audio Conferencing and Intune. The mailbox you will setup as a room mailbox (no license).


With the E1+Phone system you will get some stuff you won't need and you won't get the Intune and Audio Conferencing that you get with the Meeting Room license.


So Common Area Phone licenses for the VVX and Meeting Room license for the Logitechs. You might need to add Calling Plan license to these if you want to dial out from these devices but that depends on your Phone System setup.

Hello Team

Thank you so much for this. I do have a dilemma though. I have a Polycom Trio 8800 and it is assigned the Common Area license. The meet now is enabled on the phone and it does work, however, I was thinking with that we will be able to have a full audio conference on it, but does not seem to be the case. I am sure am missing something. Do I need to assign the Meeting Room license to the user, if yes, will that give it an audio conference number with PIN ext for users to dial into? Any recommendation and advise will be highly appreciated

I'm not sure what you mean with "full audio conference"? 

You need the Audio Conferencing license to create dial-in conferences but, when you use the Meet now from the Trio you won't send out an mail invitation, you will invite users directly to the meeting.


If you wan't to create a conference with dial-in you should create it and invite the device to the meeting. You and the device will be able to join using Skype and other user will be able to join the meeting with dial-in. You have to have the audio conferencing license for your account (since you schedule and invite to the meeting), not the device.



We have recently purchased the new Meeting Room SKU that was released on the 1st December 2018 but there seems be very little information around.


Is it possible by assigning the Meeting room licence to a device/meeting room resource for a licenced user under tenant to access there normal files and folders, even if it was by accessing there OneDrive account?

We purchased the meeting room licence to try and avoid licensing each user with an audio conferencing licence but if users can't get access to there files we may have to re-think using the meeting room sku.




@Linus Cansby While devices accounts are not used to send meeting invitations, the devices still need to be licensed with Audio Conferencing to cover one specific capability: inviting PSTN attendees ad-hoc to an active meeting from the device.  Meaning that if someone is in the room, connected to a Skype or Teams meeting and they use the device to 'Add a Participant' and then select a PSTN phone number as the new attendee, the outbound PSTN call placed by the meeting MCU requires that the device is licensed with Audio Conferencing.


@DEBEL77 The main difference between Common Area Phone and Meeting Room licenses is that the CAP license does not support Exchange, while the Meeting Room licenses does.  Common Area Phones which simply are used to place audio calls are what the CAP license was designed for, and bookable rooms where users join meetings from a calendar are what the Meeting Room license was created for.

@Linus Cansby I have a similar question.


The Common Area Phone includes the Phone System (required for calling plan). If we assign the Common Area Phone to a User and then assign the Calling Plan, does this provide Microsoft Teams calling ability to Users. 

Note: This is not for a physical phone but for the User.

@manoj_cse What will you use that user for? Will they use the Teams client to sign in so that they already have a E1/E3 license? Then I guess the Phone System Add-On is better.

@Linus Cansby The User already has the Office 365 Business Premium License with Common Area Phone License. So if we now add the calling plan license, would he be able to make calls, considering the Common Area Phone comes with Phone System.

The doubt is if the Common Area Phone license works for Users. Is it specifically and only used for physical phone licensing?

@Jeff_Schertz "inviting PSTN attendees ad-hoc to an active meeting from the device."


so if I just invite PSTN attendees from any other account that is joined to the conference ID then there is no need for this functionality?  they're charging effectively $4/mo as part of this SKU so people don't have to reach into their pocket and make an outbound call from their E5 licensed mobile client instead of the device on a table? that's a bad look.



Are you sure regarding the CAP license not supporting an Exchange mailbox? I can't see a reason why you assign CAP to a room mailbox to facilitate meeting room booking. Your own article mentions this should be possible as well.


"There is no special account type like with the server platform as any standard online user account can be used with the new license, meaning that Exchange calendaring is available for phones registered using a CAP-enabled account"



@Steve Bedwell There has been some back and forth on this topic over time.  Originally Microsoft did not intend for the CAP account in Skype for Business to be mailbox enabled and mentioned that Exchange Online might be pulled from that license.

But now that the license will be used by Teams that is likely not going to happen. The behavior I do see currently is that if a Common Area Phone license (or a Meeting Room license) is added to a standard User mailbox account, its mailbox will vanish (but it will return if a regular license is reapplied).  But if those licenses are assigned to an account with a Room mailbox and enabled using the CsMeetingRoom cmdlets then the mailbox will be fine.


It appears that using those device licenses on a user account causes the mailbox to be blocked, by design.


@Jeff_SchertzMicrosoft needs to fix this license nightmare.  It is way too confusing to understand which license applies to which purpose and it keeps changing as seen by these threads.  I have confirmed that a meeting room license does not work for a Trio conference phone.  It will not accept a meeting invite.  I was also unsuccessful using a common area phone but it works with an E5 license.  The E5 of course is overkill but I was able to use a phone system - virtual user license to get it working instead.  Yet I am told by the support team that it should not work that way. 

Why not provide exchange/mailbox connectivity for all phone related licenses and include the audio conferencing within that license so we don't have to select multiple licenses for each purpose?  It's too granular.  Why have both a CAP and Meeting Room license?  Make those the same with mailbox enabled and audio conferencing included.  Even common area phones should have voicemail capabilities.  Why block these device licenses on a user account?  Does it matter whether it is a room account or user account?  Otherwise, don't allow the license to be assigned at all so there is no confusion.   

> I have confirmed that a meeting room license does not work for a Trio conference phone. It will not accept a meeting invite.

The meeting room license absolutely will work with a Trio phone. However, you have to ensure the account is created as a room mailbox and is configured correctly. See Jeff’s blog post for the configuration instructions:


@Ryan SteeleThis explains a lot.  The reason I never used a room mailbox is because of the DeleteComments parameter default as you explained.  So using the standard choice of a room mailbox didn't work with the Trio for meeting requests and using a regular account gets blocked so it cannot login.  Making it a room mailbox and changing the DeleteComments should fix that.  Thanks for the info.


You can see that this is all too confusing though.  The meeting room mailbox option didn't exist until over a year after the push by Microsoft to move from Skype to Teams.  The DeleteComment parameter is something most people wouldn't see until they dig into why they can't get a conference room to work.  Even the support tech that directed me to your posting didn't know about it either.  This is the stuff that drives implementation people crazy but thanks for the info.  My conference room is working now but I will try again with the meeting room license later.

Meeting Rooms WITHOUT Audio Conferencing: Is there much difference with this vs. Common Area Phone?

I have one conference room that I was planning to put a Yealink T55a phone.  I am trying to choose the license required.


If the room is being used for a web based meeting, they will use a PC logged in as a user that is already fully licensed and they can join or host the meeting as required.


The T55a would primarily be used to join an audio conference only or be able to make outbound calls.

Is a CAP license with a calling plan or communication credits added sufficient for this?



@TRYuill Yes, if you only need to make and receive phones calls then the CAP license is ideal.