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Comparing Microsoft Teams Premium vs. Copilot in Teams

Explore Microsoft Teams Premium and Copilot to understand their AI productivity features and select the product license best suited for your team's needs.

Microsoft Teams has gained widespread adoption over the last several years. Nearly two-thirds of companies use Teams, according to Metrigy's "Workplace Collaboration MetriCast: 2023" study, which surveyed more than 1,400 businesses. Teams is also the most widely adopted app for team messaging and video-enabled meetings.

Now, Teams users have the ability to take advantage of new add-on options that deliver new capabilities to improve productivity and management.

Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams Premium in early 2023 as an add-on option for existing Teams license holders. At the same time, Microsoft also introduced Copilot for Microsoft Teams, with subsequent feature enhancements announced in July and November of the same year.

What is Microsoft Teams Premium?

Microsoft Teams Premium is an add-on license that provides several additional capabilities on top of the base Teams feature set, including the following:

  • Customizable meetings for branding and templates.
  • In-meeting closed captioning, with translation.
  • Increased meeting host controls over content sharing.
  • Meeting participation reporting.
  • Support for enterprise content delivery networking to optimize bandwidth for large one-to-many meetings, like town halls.
  • Enhanced features for webinars, such as reporting and attendee management.
  • Larger audience support for town halls.

Microsoft Teams Premium also uses OpenAI's GPT-3.5 large language model to provide AI-based meeting capabilities, including the following:

  • Meeting summaries.
  • AI-generated action items.
  • Real-time translation of captions and transcripts.

To access Teams Premium, an organization must have a commercial, government or non-profit Teams license. Teams Premium can be purchased as an add-on at $10 per user per month.

Image of AI-driven intelligent meeting recap in Microsoft Teams.
Both Teams Premium and Copilot offer intelligent meeting recap.

What is Copilot for Microsoft Teams?

Copilot is a generative AI digital assistant that combines large language models, data from Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 apps for productivity and task automation. Copilot for Microsoft Teams is included as part of the Copilot for Microsoft 365 license. It uses generative AI to enhance the Teams meeting experience with features including the following:

  • Automatic meeting summarization.
  • Chatbot for meeting attendees to ask questions or catch up on missed information.
  • Creation of meeting agendas from chats.
  • Capture and assignment of meeting action items.

Copilot for Teams also includes the ability to summarize discussions within chat channels, enable chat users to query both past chats and data stored in Microsoft files and documents, and create documents based on chat conversations. Microsoft plans to bring Copilot to Teams Phone to enable call summarization and analysis.

The Copilot for Microsoft 365 license, which includes Copilot for Teams, costs $30 per user per month.

Comparing Microsoft Teams Premium and Copilot for Teams

On the surface Teams Copilot and Teams Premium have some major differences as well as some overlap. For example, Teams Premium's intelligent meeting recap is also available as part of the Copilot for Microsoft 365 license. Other Teams Premium features related to meetings, webinars and town halls are exclusive to Teams Premium and are not available with Copilot.

Image of Teams meeting with Premium customization features.
Teams Premium enables customization for meeting presenters and attendees.

The best way to think about the difference is that Copilot for Teams largely provides enhanced personal productivity while Teams Premium includes an array of branding, management and analytics features for both individuals and administrators.

For example, Copilot's meeting and chat recap and summarization features should help individuals stay engaged in meetings and chats as well as catch up on what they might have missed. Copilot also helps with creating actionable content from both chats and meetings, such as tasks, recaps and recommended next steps.

As Copilot for Teams is part of the larger Copilot for Microsoft 365 feature set, those with access can enjoy Copilot capabilities that span their entire Microsoft 365 application portfolio. This includes capabilities such as email creation assistance in Outlook, automatically creating a PowerPoint document based on content stored in an Excel spreadsheet and creating content summaries in Microsoft Loop.

Teams Premium features go way beyond personal productivity -- offering a range of management options for large-scale webinars and events -- to include branding, access management and content distribution optimization.

How to evaluate Teams Premium and Copilot for Teams

While Teams Premium and Copilot have some overlap in terms of intelligent meeting recap, they are different products with different use cases. Teams Premium and Copilot for Teams aren't mutually exclusive, nor are they dependent on one another. Rather, IT buyers should evaluate each separately and obtain the licenses they feel are appropriate -- and justifiable -- for their employees.

For those looking to use generative AI to improve productivity across the Microsoft 365 product suite, Copilot is the way to go. Copilot capabilities should save time in terms of staying on top of meetings and chats, as well as provide significant benefits in speeding content creation.

Teams Premium offers capabilities for scale, branding and management that make it attractive to those who conduct large-scale events and external-facing webinars. We expect to primarily see Teams Premium adoption for event administrators and those who frequently share content externally, like sales, and who want to differentiate UX through meeting-enhanced branding.

Ultimately, the decision whether to deploy Teams Premium or Copilot for Teams will come down to cost and both perceived and demonstrable value. Among the nearly 400 participants in Metrigy's "Unified Communications as a Service TCO: 2023" study, approximately 86% were planning on purchasing generative AI virtual assistant or copilot licenses for at least some employees. However, willingness to adopt is directly correlated with license cost. To gain insights into the value these two Teams add-on options provide, consider conducting small-scale pilots to measure results.

Irwin Lazar is president and principal analyst at Metrigy, where he leads coverage on the digital workplace. His research focus includes unified communications, VoIP, video conferencing and team collaboration.

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