According to Microsoft customer support, to change regions on a Office365 subscription, you must backup and then destroy the entire subscription and all account data, then recreate it in the region you want to move to. Sound crazy? I thought so. Let’s take this example: You’ve got a large international firm with several offices around the world. Your branch office in Brazil has its own Office365 subscription which was setup there in Brazil using a Brazilian company credit card and payment address. To consolidate things you’d like to have all company domains and user accounts under one subscription in the US where you already have a different office365 subscription. Consolidating the two is impossible per Microsoft unless you completely delete the Brazil subscription and all its data. You cannot move users from a subscription in one region to a subscription to another region. It is also not possible to add a US credit card or other US payment method to an Office365 subscription in a region outside the US.
Per Microsoft customer service, if you wanted to consolidate your Brazil and US operations, here’s what they recommend:
- Backup all data for users in the region you want to merge – for simplicity’s sake let’s pretend that’d be Brazil.
- Destroy your Brazil office365 subscription by removing all email domains from the account and then deleting the account entirely.
- Add the email domains and mx records to your US subscription.
- Re-create all user accounts under the US subscription.
- Restore data for users backed up in step 1.
If you’ve got a full fledged E3 subscription with users utilizing SharePoint, OneDrive and email this is going to be a huge project for an IT administrator and in my opinion unacceptable. Merging subscriptions and preserving all data for users would involve touching each users account/workstation during the backup phase.
So if you’re in the planning stages of an Office365 deployment, keep this in mind. If you prefer one subscription for management as opposed to different regional subscriptions plan ahead because consolidating things later on is a lot harder than you might think.
It’s possible that at some point in time Microsoft will allow account administrators to freely move subscriptions between regions or even merge subscriptions. When/if this has been made available from Microsoft, I will update this article.