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


Update 9/12/2018: We have two important updates for customers:

  1. As we prepare to discontinue support for PBX’s connecting to Exchange Online Unified Messaging, we will remove the ability for tenant admins to configure new PBX connections on or after October 8, 2018. Existing connections will not be impacted by this change.
  2. Based on customer feedback, we have moved the final date to December 1, 2019 to give customers additional time for transition.

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 December 1, 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

Comments (2)
  1. On a related note, check out my article explaining the voicemail options for Exchange Server and Skype for Business on-premises and for Office 365: http://www.expta.com/2018/07/say-bye-bye-to-exchange-unified.html

  2. Joe Stocker says:

    It’s worth pointing out that one of the alternative options provided, using Skype on-prem, in itself is not a voicemail option, but instead relies Upon Exchange as he UM/Voicemail. And since Exchange 2019 doesn’t have the UM role, what this really means is that the mailbox must be in the cloud and the Skype infrastructure must be configured with a supported Edge server in the DMZ and configured for Hybrid with O365.

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