Microsoft 365 License Comparison: Business Plans Vs. E5, E3, and E1

Choosing the correct Microsoft 365 licensing is an important step for every business, especially organizations in the cloud. Microsoft offers tiered solutions for small, medium, and enterprise sized businesses. While this allows companies to right-size licensing to their specific needs, it can also create confusion about which license is the right one. This blog will highlight the differences between Office 365 and Microsoft 365 products so you can make an informed decision.

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Price Comparison for Microsoft Office 365 Business Plans and Enterprise Licenses

When comparing Microsoft 365 licenses, price is one of the first questions decision-makers consider. Below are the prices for Microsoft 365 Business, Microsoft 365 Enterprise, and Office 365 Enterprise licenses. As of April 1st, 2024, Microsoft Teams is no longer included in Microsoft 365 and Office 365 licensing but is available as a standalone purchase. When comparing Microsoft 365 licenses, price is one of the first questions decision-makers consider. Below are the annual prices for Microsoft 365 Business, Microsoft 365 Enterprise, and Office 365 licenses:

Microsoft Licensing PlanPrice Per User Per Month
Microsoft 365 E5 (no Teams)$54.80
Microsoft 365 E3 (no Teams)$33.80
Microsoft 365 F3 (no Teams)$7.50
Microsoft 365 F1 (no Teams)$1.75
Microsoft 365 Business Basic (no Teams)$4.80
Microsoft 365 Business Standard (no Teams)$10.30
Microsoft 365 Business Premium (no Teams)$19.80
Microsoft 365 Apps for business$8.30
Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise$12.00
Office 365 E1 (no Teams)$7.80
Office 365 E3 (no Teams)$20.80
Office 365 E5 (no Teams)$35.80
Office 365 F3 (no Teams)$3.50

The base price per user for Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise Plans ranges from $4.80 to $54.80, and that can quickly add up for larger organizations. That said, companies that utilize capabilities such as Rights Management or cloud PBX may save money by bundling these services into their licensing. Cost savings can be immense for businesses that purchase third party tools for Anti-Virus, eDiscovery, MFA, SIEM.

How Microsoft 365 Enterprise, Microsoft 365 Business, and Office 365 Enterprise Plans Differ

Many people use Microsoft 365 and Office 365 interchangeably; however, these are markedly different products. Office 365 is Microsoft’s productivity suite and includes the core applications most think of when they think of Microsoft: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. It is also only one of three suites included in a Microsoft 365 license.

Microsoft 365 licenses are available as Enterprise or Business licenses. Microsoft 365 Enterprise licenses bundle three suites—Office 365, Enterprise Mobility and Security, and Windows Enterprise—at different levels (E5, E3, F3, F1). Some Microsoft 365 Business licenses include all three suites but are generally more limited in features. Additionally, Microsoft 365 Business licenses have a per license cap of 300 users per tenant.

Note on GoDaddy’s Microsoft 365: We strongly discourage purchasing Microsoft 365 or Office 365 from GoDaddy due to hidden costs, and lack of feature availability. To learn more, read our blog on Migrating from GoDaddy Office 365 to Microsoft Office 365.

Here are some major features you gain with Office 365 Enterprise plans:

  • Advanced Information Protection
  • Advanced Threat Protection
  • Active Directory integration
  • Power BI

Viva Insights

  • Litigation Hold
  • Unlimited archive and mail storage
  • Unlimited archive and mail storage

Jump to

Microsoft 365 Enterprise Licenses

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is a suite that includes Office 365, Enterprise Mobility and Security, and Windows Enterprise. Microsoft 365 Enterprise gives you the enterprise security and compliance features you need, while providing cost savings through vendor consolidation, reduced management, and training overhead.

Microsoft 365 E5

Due to its cost, the Microsoft 365 E5 license is often positioned as a luxury license for companies that want advanced security and compliance capabilities, along with automated features. The reality is that most IT teams are overworked and understaffed, at a time when cyberattacks are increasing exponentially.

Even if employees aren’t working from home, internet connectivity makes every company a potential global target and enables intellectual property to flow freely out of any unsecured environment. IT personnel are tasked with supporting business critical operations and protecting the organization from external and internal threat actors, a responsibility that’s only getting more challenging with shrinking budgets and workforce reductions.

At a minimum, we recommend having Microsoft 365 E5 licenses in place for anyone with far-reaching environment access, but strongly encourage companies to consider the business impact a breach will impose when, not if, one occurs.

The Basics
Price$54.80 /user/month
Who It’s ForEnterprises looking for the most complete productivity and security solution available.
What You’ll Get

| Advanced Compliance | Advanced eDiscovery | | Audio Conferencing | | Azure Advanced Threat protection | | Customer Lockbox | | Data Governance | | Everything in Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS) E3+ | | Everything in Office 365 E3 + | | Everything in Windows 11 Enterprise E3+ | | Exchange Threat Detection | | Integrated Phone System | | Intelligent data classification and licensing Microsoft Cloud App Security | | Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection | | Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection | | Risk based conditional access |

Microsoft 365 E3

Microsoft 365 E3 brings together best-in-productivity and collaboration with Office 365 Enterprise E3, Enterprise Mobility and Security E3 and Windows 11 E3.

The Basics
Price$33.80/user/month
Who It’s ForEmployees who want the best in productivity and collaboration and administrators who want to be assured they are operating in a secure and compliant environment.
What You’ll Get
Advanced Office 365 data protection
Advanced Threat Analytics
Azure Rights Management
Azure Rights Management
Credential Guard
Device Guard
Document Tracking and Revocation
Encryption Key Management
Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS) E3
Everything in Office 365 E1 + Office 365 Apps for up to 5 PCs/Macs + 5 Tablets + 5 Mobile Devices
Integrated PC Management
Integrated PC and On-Premises Management
Integrated on-premises management
Microsoft Security and Compliance Center
Mobile Application Management
Mobile Device Management
Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management
Multi-Factor Authentication and Conditional Access
Windows 11 Enterprise (Require Win 10 Pro Install)
Windows 11 Enterprise (Requires existing Windows 11 Pro)
Windows 11 Enterprise E3
Windows Hello for Passwordless Sign On
Windows Virtual Desktop (Requires additional licensing)

Microsoft 365 F3

Microsoft’s Frontline licensing is an alternative for users that need to have a digital presence in the tenant but are not but are not spending their days creating or consuming data within the environment. Frontline users may not work at a desk, but still require matching security and compliance capabilities. As such, the Microsoft 365 F3 license includes the full Enterprise Mobility and Security E3 suite but has very deprecated productivity applications and reduced storage allocations.

For organizations with regulatory requirements, the Microsoft 365 F5 Security and Compliance Add-On raises the security and compliance features in line with a Microsoft 365 E5 license while maintaining reduced productivity capabilities and storage allotments.

The Basics
Price$7.50 /user/month
Who It’s ForEnterprises with a vari ety of productivity use cases but a n unchanging sec urity mandate.
What You’ll Get
Advanced Office 365 data protection
Advanced Threat Analytics
Azure Rights Management
Azure Rights Management
Credential Guard
Device Guard
Document Tracking and Revocation
Encryption Key Management
Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS) E3
Everything in Office 365 E1 + Office 365 Apps for up to 5 PCs/Macs + 5 Tablets + 5 Mobile Devices
Integrated PC Management
Integrated PC and On-Premises Management
Integrated on-premises management
Microsoft Security and Compliance Center
Mobile Application Management
Mobile Device Management
Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management
Multi-Factor Authentication and Conditional Access

Microsoft 365 F1

Microsoft 365 Business Licenses

Microsoft 365 Business plans were created for small businesses that might not need all the features Enterprise Microsoft 365 and Office 365 offer. Microsoft 365 Business has a per license cap of 300 users per tenant.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

The most powerful Microsoft Business Suite without going for full enterprise plans, Microsoft 365 Business premium takes all of the features of Microsoft 365 Business Standard and rolls in industry leading advanced security features, including Advance Threat Protection against zero-days, ransomware, malware, the ability to selectively wipe company data from mobile devices with Intune, Restrict copying and saving of company information on mobile devices, apply document restrictions and provide unlimited archiving.

The Basics
Price$22/user/month
Who It’s ForBusinesses with fewer than 300 users that need stronger security and compliance tools, but not the full Enterprise Mobility and Security Suite (EMS).
What You’ll Get
1 TB of OneDrive storage
App Protection for Office Mobile Apps
Custom email domain addresses
Desktop versions of Office 365 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
Email with 50 GB mailbox
Exchange Online Archiving
FastTrack deployment support (with purchase of 50+ seats)
Information Rights Management
Intune Selective Wipe
Microsoft Bookings to enable customers to schedule appointments
Microsoft Planner to manage tasks and teamwork
SharePoint (company-wide intranet and team sites to connect people to content, expertise and processes)
Web versions of Office 365 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Windows Defender
Windows Defender Exploit Guard
Yammer to collaborate across departments and locations

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Formerly Office 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 Business Standard adds critical small business tools such as Microsoft Bookings to allows customers to schedule appointments, and Mile IQ for real-time mileage tracking from your mobile devices.

The Basics
Price$12.50/user/month
Who It’s ForBusinesses with fewer than 300 users that need the latest desktop versions of Office applications, cloud services and email hosting alongside small business applications.
What You’ll Get
1 TB of OneDrive storage
24/7 phone and web support
Custom email domain addresses
Desktop versions of Office 365 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
Email with 50 GB mailbox
FastTrack deployment support (with purchase of 50+ seats)
Microsoft Bookings to enable customers to schedule appointments
Microsoft Planner to manage tasks and teamwork
SharePoint (company-wide intranet and team sites to connect people to content, expertise and processes)
Web versions of Office 365 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Yammer to collaborate across departments and locations

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

Looking to get basic Microsoft 365 functionality? Microsoft 365 Business Basic offers business email with 50 GB mailbox storage, custom email domain, and web versions of essential Office 365 applications like Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Here’s what you need to know about the Business Essentials license:

The Basics
Price$6/user/month
Who It’s ForCompanies with fewer than 300 users that don’t rely heavily on Office 365 applications, online storage, and who do not need desktop applications
What You’ll Get
1 TB of OneDrive storage
24/7 phone and web support
300 user maximum
Custom email domain addresses
Email with 50 GB mailbox
Microsoft Planner to manage tasks and teamwork
SharePoint (company-wide intranet and team sites to connect people to content, expertise and processes.)
Web versions of Office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint
Yammer to collaborate across departments and locations

Microsoft 365 Apps Licenses

Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise

(Previously Office 365 ProPlus): Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise offers option for users who don’t need email but want Office 365 applications.

The Basics
Price$12/user/month (annual commitment)
Who It’s ForUsers that rely heavily on Office 365 applications on mobile devices, do not need email access but require compliance and basic business intelligence.
What You’ll Get
File sharing and 1 TB OneDrive online document storage
Fully installed Office on PC/Mac
Mobile device management
Office Online: Create, view and edit rights for online versions of core Office apps for collaborating on documents
Office apps on tablets and phones
On-premises Active Directory sync for single sign-on
Self-service BI in Excel
Sway for Office 365
eDiscovery search

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business

Microsoft 365 Apps for business (formerly Office 365 business) provides up to 300 users with automatically updated editions of the most used Office desktop applications.

The Basics
Price$8.25/user/month (1-year agreement) or $10/user/month (1-month agreement)
Who It’s ForBusinesses with fewer than 300 users that only need Office applications, cloud file storage, and sharing (email hosting not included)
What You’ll Get
24/7 phone and web support
Desktop versions of Office 365 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote (plus Publisher and Access for PCs)
Office Online: Web versions of Office 365 applications Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote
OneDrive and 1 TB of OneDrive storage
Per user licensing permits apps installed on 5 phones, tablets and PCs for each user.

Office 365 Enterprise Licenses

Office 365 Enterprise is Microsoft’s productivity suite and includes the core applications most think of when they think of Microsoft: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. It is also only one of three suites included in a Microsoft 365 license. Unlike Microsoft 365 Enterprise licenses, which bundle three suites—Office 365, Enterprise Mobility and Security, and Windows Enterprise—Office 365 Enterprise licenses lack the security and operating system tiers.

Office 365 Enterprise E5

Building off the E1 and E3 business plans, Office 365 E5 is the highest tier Microsoft offers. With this license, you gain Audio Conferencing, Phone System, Power BI pro, Customer Lockbox, and Microsoft Cloud App Security:

The Basics
Price$38/user/month (annual commitment)
Who It’s ForIf you use or plan to use Skype for Business Cloud PBX, we recommend the Office 365 E5 license. For $35/user/month, you gain a complete, consolidated phone system along with all functionality available within Office 365.
What You’ll Get
Advanced Data Governance
Advanced analytics with Power BI Pro and Microsoft MyAnalytics
Advanced eDiscovery
Advanced security with Advanced Threat Protection and Customer Lockbox
Cloud-based call management
Enhanced security features: Advanced eDiscovery , secure attachments and URLs and access controls
Enhanced visibility and control of your Office 365 environment
Everything included in E3 licenses
Microsoft’s Business Intelligence tools for end user organizational analytics
Unlimited OneDrive storage

Office 365 Enterprise E3

The E3 license is one of the more popular options for digital-driven businesses. With E3, you gain desktop apps, You gain email, archiving, information protection and more storage options. Additionally, you gain Intune for device management and Azure Information Protection (plan 1) for data loss protection.

Here’s what’s included in E3:

The Basics
Price$23/user/month (annual commitment)
Who It’s ForBusinesses that need more advanced BI, compliance, email, security and voice capabilities.
What You’ll Get
Azure Rights Management and document management functions: archiving, rights management, data loss prevention and document-level encryption.
Email storage for in-place archive
Everything included in the Office E1 License
Hosted voicemail support
Information protection: message encryptions, rights management, data loss prevention
Legal compliance and archiving needs for email: archiving, eDiscovery hold and export, mailbox hold
Office Client Apps
Unlimited OneDrive storage
eDiscovery export and case management
eDiscovery legal hold

The Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan is most comparable to the Enterprise E3 plan in terms of base features.

The Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan is most comparable to the Enterprise E3 plan in terms of base features.

  • Exchange Online Archiving (EOA) and Legal Hold
  • Unified eDiscovery Center
  • Rights management, data loss prevention and encryption
  • Ability to add on PSTN

Office 365 Enterprise E1

E1 is the least expensive Enterprise plan. Here’s what you get with the E1 license:

The Basics
Price$10/user/month
Who It’s ForUsers that don’t need desktop versions of Outlook or Office applications but still require eDiscovery and data governance.
What You’ll Get
Data Governance manual classifications and manual policies for retention and deletion
Email 50 GB mailbox (only accessible from Outlook online)
File sharing and 1 TB OneDrive storage
HD video conferencing
OneDrive for Business
SharePoint
Video Sharing
Web versions of Office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Yammer
eDiscovery search

Here’s how Office 365 Enterprise E1 differs from Business Premium:

  • With E1, you can only access email via the online application.
  • With E1, you lose desktop versions of Office applications. You must use the online versions of Outlook and other Office applications like Word or PowerPoint online.

Office 365 Enterprise F3

Ideal for line workers, drivers, retail staff, Office 365 F3 is focused on workers who do not spend much time in front of a computer. Including popular office apps for web and mobile devices, including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.

The Basics
Price$8/user/month
Who It’s ForDesk-less, mobile, line, and floor staff that do not need desktop applications. Ideally blends into environments with a mix of F3, E3, and E5 licenses for full enterprise management.
What You’ll Get
2 GB of OneDrive storage
Microsoft Forms (Complete only, cannot create)
Microsoft Planner
Microsoft Power Apps
Microsoft Shifts
Microsoft Stream (View only)
Microsoft Sway for Digital Storytelling
Microsoft To Do
Office for Web and Mobile Apps (Including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote)
Outlook Web and Mobile (No desktop integration or voice mail)
SharePoint (Without personal sites site mailbox, or ability to create forms) 2GB/user 10GB shared storage
Use apps on all mobile devices and tablets

Summary

If any license doesn’t suit your needs, you can also add on specific features via add-on licensing. But often, the cost of upgrading is cheaper than ballooning a license with monthly add-on charges. (Read more about add-ons here.) You can also mix and match licenses depending on user needs to better control costs.

Agile IT’s cloud licensing services make it easy to purchase, transfer, and manage your licenses. As your cloud solutions provider, Agile IT handles all billing and subscriptions for your Office 365 products. You continue paying Microsoft the monthly license fee, and we take care of the rest.

Have questions about which Microsoft 365 license is right for your organization? Request a quote to see how much you can save.

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