UPDATE: Teams Mobile Clients as of Early 2020 force 911 calls through calling plans or direct routing!
Now that calling in Teams is GA, you may be wondering, what happens when you call 911 with Microsoft Phone System using a desk phone or full client? I cover that in more detail in another blog post, but basically the call is intercepted by a certified 911 operator and they confirm that you’re in the location assigned to you in the portal before delivering your call, if not, they correct it and get you to the correct emergency dispatch (PSAP).
But what if you’re using your mobile client with Skype for Business or Teams? It doesn’t matter if you’re in the cloud or not, if you’re using Microsoft as a telephone provider or not (though this is the only way to get Teams), that call will go through your cell phone provider.
Why? Well, there’s a few reasons. The first is simply that it’s an external connection, and we can’t locate you (no LIS or location information service) if you’re connected through an Edge server. But in the cloud EVERYONE is connected through an Edge server and there’s no dynamic location services yet anyway. Well, Microsoft assumes and rightly so, that your cell phone’s GPS is going to do a better job of locating you than whichever service you may be employing.
Too afraid to test out E911 calling on the mobile clients? No problem, I did it for you!
Here we are making a call from the Skype for Business Mobile client. This is an iPhone, so once you hit the call button, it sends the call to the mobile phone which asks me to confirm the call by hitting the Call button again. Once I hit that, I’m on the line with police using my mobile phone only.
And now that calling is available in Teams, let’s make the same call from the Teams Mobile client to make sure they didn’t forget this important feature. Of course they didn’t, and it’s the exact same experience.
It’s always important to test E911 services with any solution. However, to avoid fines and to simply be considerate, please call your local dispatch’s non-emergency number first and ask permission to find out if it’s a good time. In some metropolitan locations you will need to schedule your test calls in advance to avoid fines. In the suburbs, they don’t always have many calls happening and you may be OK to make that call immediately after you ask permission. When they answer, remember that your first statement should be that the call is not an emergency, but rather a test. Ask them to provider the phone number and location you’re calling from to validate your deployment, and ALWAYS BE POLITE!