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There is a free Microsoft Teams tier now, and there will continue to be a free Microsoft Teams tier after April 12, 2023. But in a bureaucratic twist, neither product will have anything to do with the other. Current users of Microsoft Teams Free will either need to create new accounts in a new tier called Microsoft Teams (free), losing all their Teams data in the process, or upgrade to a $4-per-user-per-month Microsoft Teams Essentials tier to keep all their stuff.
Microsoft spells out the changes on this support page about the retirement of Microsoft Teams Free, now called Microsoft Teams Free (classic). Files from Microsoft Teams Free (classic) can be downloaded and saved until the service shuts down on April 12, but there’s no automated process for importing those files or other user accounts into a Microsoft Teams (free) account.
Microsoft’s product page positions the new Microsoft Teams (free) tier as a product for home users and families, but the features it offers are pretty similar to the old classic tier overall. Video calls still top out at 100 participants and a one-hour runtime (one-on-one meetings can run for up to 30 hours). Each Teams (free) user gets 5GB of storage, while Teams Free (classic) users received 2GB each and a 10GB pool of shared storage. Both products offer unlimited chatting and access to shared files, task lists, and polls.
The Teams Essentials tier offers unlimited group meetings of up to 30 hours in length with up to 300 participants and 10GB of cloud storage for all your paid users. But it’s missing some features compared to the more-expensive Microsoft 365 bundles, like access to the erstwhile Microsoft Office apps or recorded meetings with transcripts.