Jeff Brown

Cloud and DevOps Engineer specializing in Microsoft 365, Azure, and PowerShell. Twitter | LinkedIn

The Microsoft Teams Common Area Phone is a device placed in a common area, like a lobby or reception area. Anyone can walk up to the phone and place a call without logging into the phone. Teams Common Area Phones (or CAP) require a special license and TeamsIPPhone policy, which is only configurable via PowerShell.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to provision a Teams Common Area Phone by:

  • Buying the Teams Common Area Phone license
  • Creating a user account
  • Deploying a new TeamsIPPhonePolicy
  • Signing into the phone

For this tutorial, you will need a Teams tenant with administrator permissions and a Teams-certified phone device. This tutorial uses the Yealink T55A.

Step 1. Buy Teams Common Area Phone License

Microsoft provides a special license for use with Common Area Phones. This license is a low-cost option that includes access to the Microsoft Teams service and a Phone System service plan.

In the Microsoft 365 admin center (https://admin.microsoft.com), navigate to Billing, then Purchase services. Search for “common area phone” and choose Details on the Common Area Phone license.

microsoft 365 admin center

In the Product Details, select the license quantity to purchase along. You can also select a monthly or yearly billing frequency. Click Buy when finished. In the Checkout window, verify all billing information, then place your order.

If the common area phone needs to dial external phone numbers, you will also need a Calling Plan license. If you are working with a Teams meeting room device, consider the Microsoft Teams Rooms licenses.

Step 2. Create User Account

You need a user account to sign into the Common Area Phone. You also associate the Common Area Phone license to this user account to enable Teams and Phone System services. Think of this account as a service account that’s dedicated to a specific purpose.

In the Microsoft 365 admin center (https://admin.microsoft.com), navigate to Users, then Active Users. Click Add a user to create a new user account.

microsoft 365 admin center users

In the new user window, enter the Common Area Phone’s user information. You will want to set the password as you will need to sign into the account later. Consider disabling options like requiring the user to change the password on first sign-in. Click Next.

microsoft 365 create user account

On the license page, at a minimum, select the Common Area Phone license. If the phone needs to dial out to external numbers, add a Calling Plan license (unless using Direct Routing). Click Next.

microsoft 365 assign user license

Configure any profile information for the user account, such as Department, Office, or other location information. The user account does not require any administration access. Click Next. Verify all the user’s information, then click Finish adding.

Step 3. Create TeamsIPPhonePolicy

The TeamsIPPhonePolicy configures what options are available to Teams phone devices. Unfortunately, this policy is currently only configurable using PowerShell. If you don’t have it already, download the MicrosoftTeams PowerShell module and connect to the service.

Install-Module -Name MicrosoftTeams
Connect-MicrosoftTeams

Read more about the new Microsoft Teams PowerShell module!

Create a new TeamsIPPhonePolicy using the New-CsTeamsIPPhonePolicy that enables the Common Area Phone sign-in mode. This mode displays a simplified user interface with only a dial pad on the screen. The Common Area Phone will not display contacts, calendar meetings, or allow sign-out without logging in as an administrator. You can configure additional options on the policy, such as disabling hotdesking or allowing search on Common Area Phones.

New-CsTeamsIPPhonePolicy -Identity "CommonAreaPhone" `
    -Description "Common Area Phone device policy" `
    -SignInMode CommonAreaPhoneSignIn
new-csteamsipphonepolicy

Step 4. Assign TeamsIPPhonePolicy to User Account

Next, assign the policy created in Step 3 to the user account created in Step 2. Assigning the policy configures the phone device settings when the user logs in. To assign the policy, use the Grant-CsTeamsIPPhonePolicy and specify the user and Common Area Phone policy.

Grant-CsTeamsIPPhonePolicy -Identity <UserPrincipalName> `
    -PolicyName "<Policy Name>"

Verify the policy assignment using the Get-CsOnlineUser command and selecting the TeamsIPPhonePolicy property.

Get-CsOnlineUser -Identity <UserPrincipalName> | Select-Object TeamsIPPhonePolicy

Step 5. Sign Into Teams Phone

Finally, sign into the Teams phone device with the user account created in Step 2. The easiest way is to navigate to https://microsoft.com/devicelogin and enter the code from the phone. When you navigate to the device login URL, you may need to use an in-private browser so it doesn’t try to log in using your credentials. Alternatively, select the Sign in on this device to manually type in the user principal name and password.

teams phone log in

After inputting the sign in code, log in using the username and password configured in Step 2. Once signed in, the Teams phone display shows a simplified screen with just a dial pad.

teams common area phone

Once signed in, navigate back to the Teams admin center. Under Device > IP Phones, select the Common Area Phones tab to view the registered phone. From here, you can update firmware, collect logs, or restart the phone.

Additional Configuration

Optionally, you can configure a new Calling Policy to control features like voice mail, call forwarding, and simultaneous ringing. Assign the policy to the common area phone user. If the common area phone has a Calling Plan assigned or uses Direct Routing, assign a phone number to the user so external people can dial it directly.

In Common Area Phone mode, you cannot sign out of the phone without logging with the local admin account. Requiring the admin password prevents users from signing out of the phone.

To sign in as admin, click the “hamburger” menu, then select Settings.

teams phone settings

In Settings, select Device Settings, then enter the admin password. For Yealink phones, the default password is “admin”. Once the admin section is visible, scroll down and select the Account sign out option to log out the Common Area Phone user.

Closing

Teams Common Area Phones are quick to configure. The TeamsIPPhonePolicy brings out the true intention of common area phones with a simplified interface. Be sure to review additional options for the phone policy by controlling hotdesking and address book search and reviewing the Calling Plan policy to disable things like voice mail.

If you want a deep dive into Teams Common Area Phones, check out Jeff Schertz’s Common Area Phones in Microsoft Teams.

Enjoyed this article? Check out more of my Microsoft Teams content!

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