Understanding E4 in Office 365 – subscribing to Enterprise Voice

Microsoft Lync Server 2010 offers a number of flexible deployment options. Amongst other things it can be deployed on premises and hosted directly by Microsoft:

  • On premises: To deploy Lync on premises, users need a license for each Lync Server 2010 instances and Client Access Licenses (CALs). Users can acquire standalone licenses for Lync, or purchase licenses in combination with other Microsoft products in the Core CAL or Enterprise CAL Suites.
  • Microsoft-hosted: For a Microsoft-hosted Lync deployment, a User Subscription License (USL) is needed for each user. Similar to on-premises Lync licensing, Users can purchase Lync Online standalone or in combination with other Microsoft products as part of the Office 365 Suite.

Lync Server 2010 provides all the functionality that is available with Lync Online. In addition, Lync Server includes Voice and PBX capabilities that enable organizations to replace or enhance traditional telephony solutions with the Lync next generation communications platform.


It is important to note that the Lync technology does not support coexistence between Lync Online and Lync Server using a single domain. Therefore, it is not possible to deploy a subset of users in Lync Online and other users on-premises using a single domain name. Lync federation can be used to enable users to communicate between Lync Online and Lync on-premises deployments, using different domain names. It is not possible to split Lync workloads (IM, online meetings and Voice/PBX) between the cloud and on-premises. For example, it is not possible to deploy IM and meetings in the cloud with voice on-premises for a single user. If you want voice you will need to run your own server (or have it hosted at a hoster).

Picture 1: Plan E3 and lower

Picture 2: Plan E4

Picture 3: Licensing and Deployment


Licensing comparison

So how does the on-premises licensing compare to the Microsoft hosted E4 subscription if you look at a Lync scenario with enterprise voice? In either case you must purchase and deploy a Lync Server on-premises. The difference lies in the way you purchase the client application and the needed CALs:

On-Premises licensing
If you purchased the CALs, the licenses would amount to USD 245* up front per user (Standard CAL + Enterprise CAL + Plus CAL)

The E4 subscription is USD 27 per user per month and includes SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Office Web Applications and Office Pro Plus. If you subscribe to Lync Online in a standalone scenario the USLs are as follows:

  • The Lync Online Standalone Plan 1 is USD 2 per user per month (compare to the Standard CAL).
  • The Lync Online Standalone Plan 2 is USD 4.5 per user per month (compare to the Enterprise CAL).
  • The Voice CAL in E4 is USD 3 per user per month  = the difference between E3 and E4 (compare to the Plus CAL)

    see this comparison chart for more on Lync Online plans

So the USLs amounts to USD 9.5 per user per month before service pack savings. Usually you'll save a little less than 40% if you subscribe to an Office 365 service plan (like E4) instead of subscribing to standalone plans. Taking into account the service plan savings we can set the total USL to appx USD 6 per user per month.

In other words you have a choice between CAPEX and OPEX at a rate of appx 40:1. Thats more than three years.

See also

  • Microsoft Lync Pricing and Licensing - link
  • Configuring On-premises Lync Server 2010 Integration with Exchange Online - link
  • Checklist: Connect Lync Server 2010 to Exchange Online UM - link
  • Planning, Implementing, and Using Microsoft Lync Server in Small Business Scenarios (en-US) - link
  • Case study: "Social Enterprise Reduces Costs and Expands Services with Flexible Cloud-Based Solution" - link
  • Case study: "Marketing Firm Fosters Creativity with Online Collaboration, Saves $49,000 in IT Costs" - link

*All prices in the blue column above reflect pricing for Open (No Level) retail purchases within the United States and are in US dollars as of December 1, 2010. The prices listed are license only estimated prices (not including SA); reseller pricing can vary by program and volume. Please note that prices are subject to change; contact a reseller or Microsoft account representative for specific pricing.  See Microsoft Lync Licensing Guide for more.

Comments (8)

  1. I agree with Dennis and Paul 🙂

  2. @Frederic – no, the Edge Server Role is considered Additional Software once you have at least one Front End Lync Server. For license questions please refer to the current Product Use Rights found here http://www.microsoft.com/…/product-licensing.aspx

  3. PaulB_NZ says:

    I’d agree with Dennis, it would be really useful to see a revised blog for this.

  4. Frederic Dickey says:

    For on premise, don't you need to deploy the Edge Server Role to interconnect to the hosted services? And therefore another $699?


  5. Dennis Lundtoft Thomsen says:

    Consider to update this article, as the feature set has changed and split-domain is now fully supported.

  6. Kyle Garrett says:

    Ditto the comments above. An update would be appreciated Jesper.

  7. Alex Tebbs says:

    There is a huge amount of interest currently from Office 365 users who want to be able to make and receive external PSTN telephone calls directly from/to Microsoft Lync.

    If you would like this capability – VIA can immediately help you with our Microsoft Lync to PSTN service provider solution:


    Our customers had the following common business drivers which we have met with our service:

    1.Reducing business costs
    â—¦Replacing the cost and ongoing expense of on-site PBX telephone systems (equipment purchase, annual maintenance, management overhead, telephone lines)

    â—¦Reducing call costs – getting competitive local, national and international call rates

    â—¦Replacing the need to source, build and manage on-site Lync Enterprise server environments

    â—¦Reducing the number of suppliers to manage across different countries providing VOIP phone services – that also are not integrated directly with Microsoft Lync

    â—¾e.g. organisations with staff based in different offices e.g. across the globe in the USA, UK, Europe, Middle East, Far East

    â—¦having a per user (OPEX) price for the service rather than upfront CAPEX costs
    â—¦Maximising the value from their investment in Office 365
    â—¦Make and receive telephone calls to your usual Direct Dial Number from/to Lync wherever you are in the world e.g. office, airport, hotel, in another country while travelling on business

    If your organisation has any of the above business drivers and would like to learn more about how we can help you maximise your investment in Office 365 with our Lync-to-Phone / Lync-to-PSTN service, we would love to hear from you – my contact details are below

    At Fuse we use what we sell – we are on Office 365 E3 plan integrated with our Microsoft Lync to PSTN cloud PBX service.

    More detail on our solution can be found here:


    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes

    Alex Tebbs

    Sales Director

    VIA – Hosted Lync

    My Office 365 Email: atebbs@joinvia.com

    My Microsoft Lync DDI numbers: +44 (0)20 7871 2878

    Connect with me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/atebbs

    Our Office Number: +44 (0)20 7871 2880

    Visit our website: http://www.joinvia.com

  8. Anonymous says:

    Not that I’m counting but I just realized one of my blog posts actually is closing in on 100k views

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