The is a short post about the cheapest Office 365 email plan available for business, the “Exchange Online Kiosk”. Microsoft positions the Kiosk plan for “workers who don’t have a desk or an office”. This post will provide the pros and cons of using a Kiosk plan versus the alternative entry level email services from Office 365.

If you visit the Office 365 website and review the business plans you will see the below options.

Office 365 plans

The cheapest small business plan is £3.30 per month, aside from email , it also includes personal online storage, instant messaging, online conferencing, and online versions of Microsoft Office.

The cheapest enterprise plan is £2.60, which is basically just email and no more.

For completeness, midsize business has only one plan at £9.80, which if you want an email only is relatively expensive.

There is actually another email only plan available as part of the Enterprise options called “Exchange Online Kiosk”. The Kiosk options are not shown on the landing page referred above, rather you need to visit a specific page to see the options below.

Office 365 kiosk plans

As you can see, there is an email plan available for just £1.30 per user per month.

The above table highlights the key plan features, but let me interpret what they mean when compared to the earlier “standard” email plans provided for business.

Firstly, Kiosk plan has 2GB of mail storage, compared to 50GB for all other mail plans. 2GB probably won’t be sufficient for workers who received large email attachments, or who don’t ever delete email. For all other users, 2GB may be just fine, check your current email storage to verify.

Access to mail on a mobile device, or via online web access, using a Kiosk plan provides an equivalent experience to other mail plans, but access when using Microsoft Outlook desktop client is fundamentally different.

Microsoft only allows a protocol called POP3 when using the Microsoft Outlook desktop client (or any other desktop client for that matter). POP3 provides a full mail experience when using Microsoft Outlook from a single computer, but these changes will not be synchronised to your mobile devices, to online web access, or to other Workstations with a desktop client. For example, if you delete a mail in Microsoft Outlook, the change will not be reflected when you check mail from your mobile device. This is why the Kiosk plan is positioned by Microsoft for users who do not have a desk or an office.

Thus if you consider the Kiosk plan, make sure you mail storage limit of 2G is acceptable, and make sure that users will access mail from mobile devices and online interface, or understand the sync limitations if they do plan to use Microsoft Outlook from a computer using POP3.

If you have a large mobile work force, who do not have a desk, then the Kiosk plan may be worthwhile, and the modest savings of at least £1.30 a month may be worthwhile.

A detailed comparison of Kiosk plan features with Enterprise plans is available here.