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Microsoft Teams Free vs Microsoft Teams Paid, What’s the Difference?

Md Mohsin Ansari

Is microsoft teams free ?


“Get unlimited chat, video calling, file sharing, storage, and more—for as long as you want, for free.”

That’s what Microsoft Teams is saying since they announced their remote collaboration app as a ‘Free’ tool. Microsoft Teams COVID-19 pricing has become quite a buzz.

It’s claiming, time and again, that they are offering all the core features free of cost.

Do you have to pay for microsoft teams?


Is Microsoft Teams really free for Business?

If you want to know if Microsoft Teams is free or if Microsoft teams is free for schools, you’re at the right place. You don't need office 365 to use microsoft teams and also you don't need a license to use microsoft teams

I won’t say that Microsoft Teams is misleading it’s users with the tagline, but it's safe to say the statement is vague. Here’s how:


  • The storage limit in the free plan is 2 GB per user. This space fills so quickly that you’d have to upgrade eventually.


  • Free plans have poor downtime. No guarantee of 99.9% Uptime, unlike the paid plans.


  • With the free plan, you cannot record meetings.


  • There’s a limit to the number of people that can be added.

And there’s more.


I’ll go through them in this article. But let’s take a look at how COVID-19 has impacted Microsoft Teams’ usage and growth.


Quick Compariosn of Microsoft Teams Pricing and Plans. India Vs US


Microsoft Teams (free)Microsoft 365 Business Basic
(formerly Office 365 Business Essentials)
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
(formerly Office 365 Business Premium)
Office 365 E3
FreeRs. 125.00 user/monthRs. 660.00 user/monthRs. 1, 320.00 user/month


 United States

Microsoft Teams (free)Microsoft 365 Business Basic
(formerly Office 365 Business Essentials)
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
(formerly Office 365 Business Premium)
Office 365 E3
Free$5.00 user/month$12.50 user/month$20.00 user/month



MS Teams Growth During COVID-19

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden shift towards the work-from-home model, MS Teams passed 75 million daily active users in April 2020.

According to the data economy, Microsoft recorded 12 Million new users since remote workers increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s what Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 said about the influx of customers:

“It is very clear that enabling remote work is more important than ever, and that it will continue to have lasting value beyond the COVID-19 outbreak. 20 customers have more than 100,000 employees actively using Teams, including Ernst & Young, SAP, Pfizer, and Continental AG, as well as Accenture, which has 440,000 employees actively using Teams.”

Considering the high demand and to show support during these unprecedented times, Microsoft Teams decided to update some of their free plans.

But the question is:

Is Microsoft teams free for personal use? Is Microsoft teams free with Office 365? Is Microsoft Teams free plan worth it? What features can you avail via the free version? What are the limitations of the new updated free plan? Is  Are Microsoft teams free in India?

I’ll answer all that and more in this article. Let’s begin with key features and how they are different for both free and paid customers:



Q1: Is Microsoft teams free for maximum members?

Maximum Members: Microsoft Teams Free vs Paid

Maximum member limit is probably the first thing that comes to an admin’s mind before deciding which remote collaboration app to use. Let’s take a look at Teams free and paid

Microsoft Teams Paid:

If you have got a large organization, MS Teams’ paid plan works fine. There’s no limit to the number of users that can be added. All in all, it’s maximum users are potentially unlimited with the enterprise plan.

Microsoft Teams Free:

The maximum member limit was 300 for free teams but Microsoft recently increased it to 500,000 users per organization.

“Microsoft revealed that Teams now support an increase to 5,000 members per team. The new maximum will help large organizations like Accenture (the largest user of Teams).”



Q2: Is Microsoft teams offering unlimited file Storage?

File Storage: Microsoft Teams Free vs Paid

At Microsoft Teams, files shared in a channel are stored in the SharePoint folder of a team. These files can then be found in the files tab of each channel.

Files shared in the group chat or private chat are stored in the OneDrive folder. This can be found in the files tab on a chat.

Microsoft Teams Paid:

To it’s paid users, MS Teams provides storage of 1 TB per user.


Microsoft Teams Free:

For free users, MS Teams offers a storage space of 2 GB per user. Apart from this, they get an additional 10 GB of shared space. But this is not enough and ultimately, free users are asked to upgrade for more storage.



Q3: What is Microsoft Team free meeting time limit?

Video Conferencing: Microsoft Teams Free vs Paid

With Microsoft Teams, you can take your meetings to the next level via the web, audio, and video conferencing through any device of your choice.

You get to make these meetings more effective by sharing context, content, and availing AI for assistance — all of this and more with the same compliance and security of Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Teams Paid:

Apart from hosting the video, audio, web conference, paid users get more features like note-taking, screen sharing, instant messaging, meeting scheduling. They can hold large meetings, presentations, and company-wide events with up to 10,000 attendees.

The video conferencing function, which is the most usual to use, has a time limit of 8 hrs.

Microsoft Teams Free:

When it comes to video conferencing, there are a few limitations for Microsoft Teams free users. For example, the free plan lacks core features such as meeting recording and phone calls. And for the live events, only 250 attendees are allowed if you’re hosting the meeting via a free account.


Q4: What are Microsoft Teams Meeting Recording Limitations?

Meeting Recording: Microsoft Teams Free vs Paid

With MS teams, you can record the meetings by capturing it through screen sharing activity, audio and video features. The recorded videos are stored in the cloud and it is saved into the Microsoft Stream.

Microsoft Teams Paid:

Recording the meetings is simple in Microsoft Team. You simply have to host or join a meeting. Once the meeting starts, you can go to:

Meeting controls > More options > Start recording

MS teams allow users to record group calls and meetings. However, the one-on-one calls cannot be recorded yet. Another limitation of the Microsoft team recording feature is that the shared notes and whiteboards cannot be captured in the recordings.

Microsoft Teams Free:

Unlike other core features, the meeting recording feature is only available for Microsoft Teams paid users. Free users cannot record the meetings. Microsoft team's free meeting duration is 0 minutes.


SLA Uptime: Microsoft Teams Free vs Paid

Run by Microsoft, the Microsoft Teams claims that it provides customers with a Service Level Agreement. But it’s not the same for all the users.

Microsoft Teams Paid:

To it’s paid users, Microsoft Teams offers a service credit SLA against a 99.9 Uptime per month SLA. It is the same with the majority of Office 365 services that also offer a 99.9% SLA.

Microsoft Teams Free:

The free MS Team users are not assured of the 99.9% SLA. There’s no mention of uptime for free users, but it’s apparent and obvious that paid users get an uptime priority.

Take a look at the down detector’s report of MS Teams' most reported problems — serve connection stands at 45%.



User Setting Configuration: Microsoft Teams Free vs Paid

If you’re a paid Microsoft Teams user, you can use Microsoft Teams’ team policy feature for controlling what each user in your organization can do in channels. All in all, you have got the option to control and restrict their access within the Teams.

Microsoft Teams Paid:

The user setting configuration feature is available only for Microsoft Teams paid users.

For example, an admin can choose whether a user is allowed to discover private teams or contacts in search results. Similarly, they can control content view in the team gallery and restrict a member’s ability to create private channels.

Team Policies can be managed through MS Teams admin center> Teams policies in the Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams Free:

Much like other important features, the user setting configuration feature is also not available in the free plan. You’d need to upgrade to the paid plan to gain the ability to show this level of control.


Usage Reporting: Microsoft Teams Free vs Paid

Teams usage report features available in the MS Teams admin centre gives admins an overview of the user and usage activity in Teams. The reports include a list of active channels, active users, guests, messages, and more.

It gives admin an option to quickly see how many users across their organization are using the app to collaborate and communicate and collaborate.

Microsoft Teams Paid:

Admins with a paid subscription can run different reports and get insights into how their employees are using Teams.

An organization can use these reports and information to get a better understanding of usage patterns, inform the training efforts, improve communication gaps, and help make business decisions. You can get the usage report through: 


MS Teams Admin Centre > Analytics & Reports > Usage Reports > Teams Usage


Microsoft Teams Free:

The usage reporting feature is not available for free users.


Summing Up: Microsoft Teams Free vs. Paid

Here’s a summary of all the differences between Microsoft Teams Free and Paid plan:



MS Teams Free

MS Teams Paid 

Maximum members

500,000 per org

Potentially unlimited with an enterprise license

File storage

2 GB/user and 10 GB of shared storage

1 TB/user

Guest access


Video calls

Upto 250 participants

Upto 10,000 participants 

Channel meetings


Screen sharing


Scheduled meetings


Meeting recording


Available with Microsoft Stream



Admin tools for managing users and apps



Usage reporting for Microsoft 365 services



99.9% financially-backed SLA uptime



Configurable user settings and policies




All in all, Microsoft Team’s Free plan is good. You don’t have to spend a penny but then you’re restricted with limited features — features that are important for remote collaboration.

Here’s a table taken from Microsoft Teams official site with all the maximum limits for MS teams: 



Maximum limit

Number of teams a user can create

Subject to a 250 object limit¹

Number of teams a user can be a member of


Number of members in a team


Number of owners per team


Number of org-wide teams allowed in a tenant


Number of members in an org-wide team


Number of teams a global admin can create


Number of teams a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 organization can have


Number of channels per team

200 (includes deleted channels)³


  • So what are your options? How can you still get these great features at a lesser price?

Troop Messenger as an Alternative to Microsoft Teams

With all the essential remote collaboration features like instant messaging, unlimited members, unlimited groups, video conferencing, screen sharing, orange members, integrations, Troop Messenger gives a neck-to-neck to Microsoft Teams.

How is Troop Messenger Different From Microsoft Teams?

  • Privacy Chat: It allows team members to chat in private within a stipulated time period. The conversation gets deleted automatically once the timer expires.
  • Advanced Search: Filter history by image, video, file, link, contact, URL, and location to trim down the search fast and easy.
  • Secure: Passcode Security Pin and FingerPrint access
  • Live Location Tracking: Allows you to share your real-time location with the participants of an individual chat for a specific amount of time
  • Orange Member: This feature encourages a provision to add other company employees, vendors, or customers to be a part of the application or organization with their respective business or public domain mail ids
  • Pricing: Troop gives you all the Microsoft Teams' paid features at the most competitive price in the market. Starting at $1 per user per month, it's the cheapest remote collaboration tool you’ll come across.
  • Storage: Unlike MS Teams' free plan where you get 2GB Storage, TM offers 1 TB storage to Enterprise account and 150 GB to the premium account.

All in all, Microsoft Teams makes for a great collaboration app but if you cannot afford to buy a paid subscription and still want to avail core features, you should consider giving Troop Messenger a try.


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