New date for discontinuation of support for Session Border Controllers in Exchange Online Unified Messaging


In July 2017, we announced that support for Session Border Controllers (SBC) that connect 3rd Party PBX systems to Exchange Online Unified Messaging (UM) would be discontinued as of July 2018. After feedback from customers and partners concerned about this change, we are announcing additional time for customers to prepare. The new date for discontinuation will be April 30, 2019. Customers with existing deployments remain fully supported until this date. However, Microsoft strongly advises all customers to begin their voicemail transition now. There are different alternatives for customers currently using an on-premises PBX system that connects to Exchange Online. We recognize that customers may also choose a combination of these options for their organization.

  • Office 365. We believe the best option for customers is to transition to the cloud and use Office 365. This would include the enterprise voice workload and Cloud Voicemail. Customers would use Microsoft Teams for collaboration and voice services.
  • Skype for Business Server. In this configuration, customers would deploy an on-premises Skype for Business server and take advantage of the services for voicemail supported by the server.
  • 3rd Party Voicemail System. With this approach, the customer acquires a 3rd party voicemail system that provides all the capabilities required to process voicemail and then place it in the user’s Exchange mailbox.

In past communications, customers may remember that we discussed another alternative which included voicemail routing.  These solutions involved vendors who rely upon Skype for Business and Exchange UM for the solution. It’s important to note that Microsoft does not certify these solutions. There may be impact to these 3rd party solutions as we evolve our architecture for voicemail. As 3rd party providers will be your primary source of support for these solutions, we recommend customers work with these vendors to ensure the longevity and supportability of the solution.

We know these changes can be challenging in the near-term. But we believe that continuing to identify areas where we can evolve the service we provide while taking full advantage of the cloud is the right answer. We will continue to evaluate emerging needs as customers make the transition from legacy dedicated voice to Microsoft’s Intelligent Communications solutions.

For customers that may have more questions, please contact your account team or Microsoft Support.  Customers already using Office 365 can submit a support case through the Office 365 Admin Portal.

Exchange team

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