Microsoft Office 365 Government License Comparison: G1 vs G3 and G5

The government’s technological needs are unique. They require world-class security, as well as the ability to meet strict compliance regulations. The DOJ, as well as many other government agencies, must have the most secure technology available in order to meet the long list of technology security guidelines, such as the CJIS and ITAR and the upcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Compliance framework(CMMC). It is for this reason that Microsoft has developed unique offerings for the public sector, including Azure Government Cloud (GovCloud) an isolated instance of Microsoft Azure and a specialized Microsoft government license for products and services.

Looking for information on Office 365 Enterprise Licenses, Office 365 Educational Licences, or  Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise Licensing?

There are some complexities to understanding these licenses and how they work. First, public sector agencies must fit the eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a Microsoft Government License. Second, there are a number of different licensing options for the public sector from which to choose. The following dives into the eligibility requirements, and provides a comparison of the licenses available.

Microsoft Government License Eligibility

In order to license programs in volume from Microsoft as a government agency, the entity must not operate for a profit and either be a federal, state/local, or tribal agency. This encompasses any federal, state, or local government bureau, agency, office, state law-established instrumentality, department, or other entity. Additionally, it includes any state or local entity that is authorized by state laws to make purchases under state contracts. This includes any tribal entity that performs governmental functions and is eligible for U.S. Department of Interior funding and services.

However, even if the organization operates for profit, they could still be eligible. It is necessary, though, that they fit into all of the following criteria:

  • All revenues/profits go solely to the government and not private shareholders.
  • The organization is exempt from corporation tax.
  • The organization gets more than half of its funding from the government, rather than from commercial activities.

Oftentimes, government organizations that undertake commercial activities, such as transportation, banking, and telecommunications, will not qualify for Microsoft Government Licenses. If an organization loses its eligibility after entering into a licensing agreement with Microsoft, the agreement will stand, but the organization may not renew the agreement when it expires.

Microsoft Government Licensing Options

Government entities should closely review the various licensing offerings that Microsoft has. The special pricing is lucrative, and the terms effectively align with how government entities acquire technology services and licenses. Another major deciding factor, beyond just the pricing and terms, is the size of the government agency. Microsoft has designed a set of government licenses for small and midsize agencies, as well as a set of licenses for midsize to large agencies.

Price Comparison for Office 365 Government Plans and Licenses

When comparing Office 365 and Microsoft 365 licenses for government including GCC and GCC high, price is one of the first concerns. This chart shows base pricing for Microsoft Government Licensing, however there are  many ways to get lower costs through a CSP or reseller. We can help you determine your exact costs. (To understand the different cloud environments, you should read out blog “What is GCC High, GCC, DOD and Commercial Microsoft 365”

LicenseCost ($/user/month)
Microsoft 365 G1 (Government Pricing)$10.00
Microsoft 365 G3 (Government Pricing) Includes Windows 10 Enterprise and Advanced Threat Protection$32.00
Microsoft 365 G5 (Government Pricing) Includes Windows 10 Enterprise and Advanced Threat Protection$57.50
Office 365 Enterprise G1 (Government Pricing)$8.00
Office 365 Enterprise G3 (Government Pricing)$20
Office 365 Enterprise G5 (Government Pricing)$35.00

Types of Small/Midsize Microsoft Government Agency Licenses

Open License For Government: This license allows agencies to make a single agreement that gives them both the option of Software Assurance and the ability to purchase licenses from qualified resellers of their choice.

Features Of The License

  • Number of desktop PCs required: 5 or more (This requirement can be waived for the license and is waived for online services)
  • Software Assurance: Option to add when the license is acquired
  • Available license offerings: License, License and Software Assurance, Software Assurance renewals
  • Pricing: Based on product pools (Volume discounts are available)
  • Agreement term: Two years (The license is not renewable)
  • Payment options: Up-front
  • Purchasing options: Indirectly through a reseller
  • Online Services: Offered

Open Value For Government: This government license simplifies the purchase and oversight of technologies with asset management, spread payments, and predictable costs. This license, unlike the Open License, does not waive the five PC minimum. Additionally, because it includes Software Assurance, many more benefits can be reaped, including software upgrades, training, deployment planning, and product support.

Features Of The License

  • Number of desktop PCs required: 5 or more (This requirement is waived for Online Services)
  • Software Assurance: Included
  • Available license offerings: License and Software Assurance and Software Assurance renewals
  • Pricing: Based on desktop PCs
  • Agreement term: 3 years (The license is renewable)
  • Payment options: Up-front or annually
  • Purchasing options: Indirectly through a reseller
  • Online Services: Offered

Open Value Subscription For Government: This license has the same features as the Open Value License, but it comes at a lower up-front cost (if the PC count drops, it is also possible to reduce the licensing cost with it). Additionally, during the term of the agreement, agencies get access to Microsoft cloud services and software licenses, as well as the choice to add the single platform option.

Features Of The License

  • Number of desktop PCs required: 5 or more
  • Software Assurance: Included
  • Available license offerings: License and Software Assurance and Software Assurance renewals
  • Pricing: Based on desktop PCs
  • Agreement term: 3 years
  • Payment options: Annually
  • Purchasing options: Indirectly through a reseller
  • Online Services: Offered

Midsize/Large Government Agency Licenses

Enterprise Agreement For Government: This government license is built for organizations that have more than 250 users. It helps to create up-to-date technology standards organization-wide. It also simplifies the technology acquisition by using a single agreement, offering more predictable prices, and spreading payments over time. Software Assurance is included in the license.

Enterprise Subscription Agreement For Government: This option is similar to the Enterprise Agreement, but with a lower up-front cost. Additionally, Software Assurance is included, as is the option of Microsoft cloud services and software licenses during the term of the agreement.

Microsoft Products And Services Agreement: This government license helps agencies to streamline their technology purchases. All software and Online Services are put into a single agreement that has flexible options (i.e. software can be on-premises, delivered via cloud, or a hybrid) and provides more control. Software Assurance is optional with MPSA. To qualify for the agreement, the organization needs at least have 250 users or devices.

Select Plus For Government: Select Plus provides a similar government license for those agencies that cannot use MPSA. It essentially allows the license to cover the entire organization, while letting individual departments acquire various software licenses when they need them. Although MPSA and Select Plus are similar, there are a few key differences:

  • MPSA makes Online Services available, which can then count towards price level.
  • MPSA allows for multiple partners to be classified under a single account.
  • MPSA enables different account types to fall under a single agreement.
  • MPSA authorizes self-provisioning and allows organizations to use Online Services before ordering.

Small To Large Government Agency Licenses

Microsoft Cloud Agreement For Government: Cloud services can be obtained through this agreement in a pay-as-you-go model. There are various cloud solution models to fit every agency’s needs. Microsoft government license

Microsoft Azure Government (GovCloud)

The Microsoft Azure Government cloud platform was built specifically for government agencies, taking into consideration the importance of transparency, security, control, and FedRAMP and FIPS compliance standards. There are three unique options for the platform. One is for federal agencies, another for state and local agencies, and the last for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Microsoft Office 365 Government Plans

Just as Microsoft built a cloud platform for government, they also built Office 365 versions that would better suit government needs and meet compliance regulations. There are three options available:

G1: This version has every feature of Exchange Online U.S. Government Plan 1, as well as:

  • Intranet and team sites
  • HD video conferencing
  • Online meetings and instant messaging
  • Cloud file storage and sharing
  • Select additional services

G3: This version is an upgraded form of G1 with:

  • Hosted voicemail with auto-attendant capabilities
  • eDiscovery tools
  • Enterprise app management
  • Self-service business intelligence
  • Office desktop applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access)
  • Select additional services

G5: This Office 365 version is an upgraded form of G3 with:

  • Audio conferencing
  • Exchange Online Threat Protection
  • Personal and organizational analytics
  • Skype for Business Server to amplify unified communications
  • Text analytics and predictive coding as part of advanced eDiscovery


Learn More About the Services Provided for Microsoft Government Licensing

Agile IT is one of only 100 Microsoft endorsed Government Cloud Partners, and one of only 6 able to offer CGG licensing and services to organizations with fewer than 500 seats. We are veteran-operated and have successfully completed projects for local, state, and federal agencies, offices, and departments. We are certified to assist in your GovCloud and AWS Migrations. We can provide guidance, migration, and services in all certified government clouds as well as helping organizations navigate the process of getting approved for Government Cloud Services. To talk to a Cloud Solutions Advisor about available options, please request a quote below, or schedule a call with a Cloud Service Advisor.

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