Monday 27 November 2023

Microsoft Teams Phone Hotline (Bling) Feature

Microsoft released a new feature for Teams Phone! The feature is called Hotline or PLAR (Private Line Auto Ringdown – for those that must have an obscure acronym for a feature that already has the perfect name). The feature is very simple, but will certainly help with Common Area Phone deployments. In some cases, you just want a phone to do one job and that is to ring to one specific location when it’s picked up. This allows you to mount the phone in a public place and not worry about people using it to call another people within your organisation (or even worse, to make an expensive external call).


  • The Teams Phone device must be running at least version: 1449/ of the Teams Phone software.
  • The phone account must be a given a Microsoft Teams Shared Devices license. This feature does not exist for a personal login from a regular user. 

  • The hotline can be set up to ring either a contact or a phone number (both options are described below).
  • The Advanced Calling feature must be turned off in order to use the Hotline feature.
  • From my experience, configuration profiles only get pushed to devices at the time they are added to the device or when you update a setting(s) in a configuration profile that is already assigned to a device. If you go and manually assign settings on the phone and then later update the Configuration Profile that is assigned to the device, the manual setting will be overridden by the policy.



The feature is inbuilt in the Teams Phone software. There are two methods for getting the configuration on to the device. The first is to configure it directly on the device via the settings screen. The second is to push the configuration to the device using a Configuration Profile within the Teams Admin Centre. I will explain both below:


Option 1. Configuration on Device:

On the Device go to Settings > Device settings > Admin only > Calling > Hotline


Within the settings you get an Enable toggle and the contact that you want the Hotline to ring to. When you switch on the enable toggle, the phone reboots, so it's best if you first configure the contact information before enabling hotline:

When you enter the Configured Contact area you will see a Contact Picker dialog. From here you can type in Contact Names:

Or, if you type in a phone number that the system can normalise, it will allow you to select it also:

Add a Display Name that will make sense to the user that's using the hotline phone, because this name is displayed on the screen of the device when in it's idle mode:

Once it’s added, you will just see the Display Name in the Configured Contact area and not the number or contact that it's actually going to call (so when you're troubleshooting this config in the future, it's always good to open the configured contact to make sure it's going to the place you expect): 

The phone will now restart and you should see the following on the screen. (Note, the last word "emergency" is the display name you configured):


Option 2. Configuration via the Teams Admin Centre:

You can find the settings for phone devices under the Teams Devices > Phones area within the Teams Admin Centre:

In this setting you turn on the Hotline toggle and then enter a contact and a Display Name:

If you want to dial an external number you need to make sure that when you click on the "Search for a Contact" field you click the very difficult to see Configure Contact Manually “button” at the bottom of the drop down:

When you do this the Admin Centre will allow you to create a contact object with a phone number associated with it that will become the destination of the hotline:

Now you can save your Configuration profile and go and assign it to the Common Area Phone. From the All Phones tab, select the phone you want to assign the profile to and click the Assign Configuration button:

A fly out window will now appear from the right of screen that ask you to type in the profile name. (You need to  remember at least the first 3 characters of the name you assigned). Select the profile from the list it provides as you type:

Apply the setting. As a tip, if you want to know which configuration profile is assigned to your phones, you have to scroll to the far right of the device list (it’s not really obvious that these additional columns are hidden over there). You will see, in this case, that the Common Area phone has the "Hotline" profile I assigned:


Note: After assigning a configuration policy you may have to wait for 15 mins or more for it to be pushed out to the device. You can see in the device history area that the update is queued. Once it’s complete, the device history will show the status as Successful:


Here’s an example of the feature working on the phone:

Note: This GIF is made with my Teams Phone Screen Capture tool:

 Notice in the animation above, when the call is answered the caller doesn't get any features like Hold or Transfer. However, the person answering the call still gets these options in case they want to transfer to someone else, etc.

The Wrap Up

Whilst this process is simple enough, there are steps that aren’t particularly intuitive. Hopefully this has clarified things for you and you can get on with your Hotline Bling.

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