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Microsoft, AT&T Go Global With Skype for Business Conferencing

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Microsoft and AT&T on Wednesday said they are teaming up to make the telco giant’s Global Conferencing service available around the world via Skype for Business before the quarter is out.

AT&T’s Global Conferencing is delivered through the cloud and uses local dial-in numbers, saving businesses money they would normally spend on international calls. There’s no change for existing AT&T audio-conferencing customers who can keep their same dial-in numbers and access codes. Those current customers might still know Skype for Business as Microsoft Lync; the Redmond, Washington-based software giant officially changed the service’s name earlier this year.

AT&T’s Global Conferencing on Skype for Business allows businesses to create virtual meetings with up to 1,000 participants; use dial-in, dial-out and VoIP options in one conference; connect external partners, international associates, mobile workers and other teams; and seamlessly transition from an instant-messaging chat or email threat to an international call.

“Together with Microsoft, we’re … helping the largest multinationals to the mom-and-pop store down the street connect with employees and customers virtually however, and whenever, they want,” wrote Abhi Ingle, senior vice president, AT&T Big Data & Advanced Solutions, in a blog.

The service will be available in more than 140 countries. This updated offering shifts the traditional fixed-line capability to mobile devices over AT&T’s global network, Ingle said.

The carrier is integrating audio conferencing with Skype of Business in a number of ways, including for customers who have purchased Skype for Business directly from Microsoft or third parties; for large, multinational customers that use AT&T to host and manage their Skype for Business environments; for customers who host and manage Skype for Business in their own data centers; and for SMBs using Office 365, which can be added as part of the AT&T Mobile Office Suite.

AT&T introduced Mobile Office Suite alongside its partner, Microsoft, in March. Targeted to SMBs, the all-in-one bundle’s goal is to keep employees connected and productive while on the go.

Don’t expect this to be the last collaboration on collaboration, if you will, between these two companies. AT&T says it plans to continue teaming with Microsoft on unified communications in the future.

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.


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