What is an Office 365 Kiosk licence?

Accounting Software


engineer standing on the pier while holding a laptop

Cheaper licences for deskless workers.

Many Microsoft products offer levels of functionality for different licences at various price points. Microsoft’s cloud platform Office 365 is no different with its staggered levels of Enterprise licences in the E1 – E4 plans.

However, the “Kiosk” licences are often overlooked.

Under BPOS (the predecessor to Office 365) these were known as “Deskless Worker” licences.

The thinking behind Kiosk licences is that they are aimed at users who need access to email (Exchange) and information (SharePont) but don’t necessarily sit at a fixed desk. Examples of users would be shift-based workers in a hot-desk environment, factory floor workers and really anyone else that doesn’t need the full functionality of a desktop or Office.

This is why these users were referred to as the Deskless Worker licences previously, however are now called Kiosk users due to the US vernacular whereby a multi-user web terminal is known as an “Internet kiosk”.

With Office 365 the Kiosk licence comes in several flavours: as an Exchange Online standalone licence or as a bundle.

Exchange Online Kiosk

The key limitations of an Exchange Online Kiosk licence compared to a Plan 1 (full licence) are:

  • Mailbox limited to 1GB
  • Can only connect via Outlook Web App or smartphone (not Outlook or tablet)

Office 365 Kiosk

This table covers off the differences between the Office 365 K1 and K2 (kiosk) plans:

Kiosk licence table comparison
Kiosk licence table

As you can see the key difference between the K1 and K2 plans is that K2 users can edit documents with Office Web Apps, whereas K1 users can view only.

Specifically to SharePoint – a Kiosk licence does not come with 500MB of contributable storage or a 500MB MySite (this is in contrast to SharePoint Online Plan 1 and 2 licences, or Enterprise Plans 1-4 which both come with 500MB MySite as well as contributing 500MB to the total SharePoint storage of the Office 365 customer).

Choosing correctly

Kiosk licences cost significantly less than full Office 365 licences and are quite an attractive option for many organisations that want to provide their staff with occasional or lightweight access to company mail and information.

One of Paradyne’s recent customers is a national membership association with branches around the country. Most of the association membership management have day jobs and only check their association email occasionally. However, they also require access to information from the SharePoint site. For this reason we supplied the organisation with a handful of Enterprise licences for the full-time staff while the rest of the users were supplied with K1 licences.

Office 365 allows customers to change their user licences on the spot, so there’s nothing to stop Kiosk users from being upgraded to full licences – especially as they won’t lose their data in the process. This allows customers to provide their staff with Office 365 functionality without having to pay the full price.

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