Office 365 Service Plans – An Overview of Licensing Options

March 24, 2015
Editorial Staff


Editorial Staff

Office 365 has four Service Families which are licensing agreements designed to meet the unique needs of a variety of customers. In addition, each Service Family consists of three or four Plans for further customizing a customer’s licensing needs. You can easily switch Plans as the needs of your organization change, and you can even combine Plans as long as you adhere to the maximum number of seats required of the Business plan (excluding Education and Government Plans).

All Office 365 subscriptions include:

  • Financially backed service level agreement (SLA) guaranteeing 99.9% uptime
  • Guaranteed security and privacy
  • Simple deployment and management with the ability to add and remove users instantaneously
  • Regular updates as part of your subscription
  • Active Directory integration with synchronization to single sign-on

Below is an overview of each Service Family and Plan.

Office 365 Business, Business Essentials, and Business Premium

The Office 365 Business plan can be as little as $8.25 per user/month with an annual commitment, or $10.00 per user/month. It comes equipped with select the Office apps such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and Publisher, and can be used across the leading mobile device platforms. Office 365 Business also includes OneDrive for Business, giving users 1 TB of personal cloud storage that syncs with their primary device for offline access.

The Office 365 Business Essentials plan starts at $5 per user/month with an annual commitment, or $6 per user/month. It doesn’t include the complete Office Suite like the Business plan because its focus is more around workplace collaboration, so it includes products such as Outlook, Lync, Skype, Yammer, and 1TB OneDrive cloud storage.

Lastly, the Office 365 Business Premium plan begins at $12.50 per user/month with an annual commitment, and $15.00 per/per month. The Business Premium plan combines the Office productivity of the Business plan with the collaboration capability of the Business Essentials plan into a single bundle.

Office 365 Enterprise 

The Office 365 Enterprise E1 plan is $8 per user/month with an annual commitment. It is ideal for large organizations that require robust collaboration services such as email and calendars in Outlook, online conferencing and instant messaging with Lync and Skype, 1TB cloud storage in OneDrive for Business, and team sharing workspaces in Yammer and SharePoint, plus many more possibilities.

The Office 365 Enterprise E3 plan builds upon the E1 plan by adding the Office suite as well as complete access across mobile devices. E3 goes for $20 per user/month.

Office 365 Enterprise E4 gives you everything in the E3, plus a subscription way to buy the Lync Server Standard, Enterprise, and Plus CALs to use against an on-premise Lync installation, giving you full access to IM/P, conferencing, video, and Enterprise Voice.

Office 365 ProPlus

The Office 365 ProPlus plan combines the low-cost structure of the Business plan with the unlimited user subscription of the Enterprise plan. At an annual commitment of $12 per user/month, it includes the full Office suite with mobile access and 1TB OneDrive storage, but no collaboration with Lync, Yammer, or the like.

Office 365 Education E1 and E3

The Office 365 Education E1 plan is free for students and faculty and is available for unlimited users. It offers select Office applications online, 1TB OneDrive storage, email, calendar, Lync, SharePoint, and Yammer.

Office Education E3 combines everything within the E1 plan, with the addition of fully installed Office suite on up to 5 devices, enterprise management capability, self-service BI, eDiscovery, and voicemail, all at $2.50 per user/month for students and $4.50 per user/month for faculty.

Office 365 Government E1, E3, E4, and K1

The Office 365 Government packages can get a little dicey. Microsoft reserves the right to verify eligibility at any time and suspend the service for ineligible government institutions. Eligibility requirements typically include:

  • Any government agency, department office, division, unit, or state/local government entity
  • Any country, borough, commonwealth, city, municipality, town, etc.
  • Any other entity in customer’s state expressly authorized by the laws of the customer’s state to purchase under state contracts

If you feel you qualify for a government Office 365 package, we recommend getting in contact with our licensing specialists to help you wade through the quagmire of these complex licensing packages.

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