Power BI Cost & Licensing Guide for Desktop, Pro, and Premium.

Posted by Roger Padgett on Feb, 25, 2021 03:02

With Microsoft Power BI, organizations can benefit from a powerful business intelligence (BI) tool with distribution capabilities, streamlined publication, and integration with other MS products and services. In this post, we will see the detailed guide of Power BI cost

According to Markets and Markets research, the global BI market is predicted to reach $33.3 billion by 2025.

Before you choose a specific license type, it is essential to get familiar with the Power BI cost.

Importance of Choosing with the Right Power BI License 

Organizations can find lots of licensing options in Power BI. That is why some of them find it challenging to choose which license suits best their business needs. 

There are different software versions which commonly leads to a debate on the benefits of each Power BI cost and license type. Moreover, choosing the right license helps an organization ensure that it will receive maximum business intelligence benefits with business needs in mind.

However, the selection process should not be a daunting task. Organizations can consider the following factors:

  • Content Creation – This factor allows the users to author and prepare reports and create data visualizations with ease.
  • Content Publication – Secondly, this factor enables the users to author content, collaborate with colleagues, publish reports, share dashboards, and perform ad hoc analysis.
  • Lastly, Content Consumption – Thirdly, this factor lets the users read and interact with reports and pre-published dashboards with per-user or large-scale databases.

Cost Structure of Power BI Desktop 

With the free Power BI version, an organization can benefit from:

  • Data visualizations creation 
  • Author reports 
  • 1GB space allocation 
  • Lastly, Up to 10K rows per hour data streaming 

Cost Structure of Power BI Pro

Power BI Pro is offered at $9.99 per user per month. When organizations choose this license, they can benefit from:

  • Modern BI in the cloud and self-service 
  • Secondly with Sharing, publishing, collaboration, and ad hoc analysis 
  • Fully managed by MS 

Cost Structure of Power BI Premium 

Power BI cost for Premium version is $4,999 per month per storage resource, and dedicated cloud compute with an annual subscription.

When organizations choose this license, they can benefit from:

  • On-premises reporting, big data analytics, and enterprise BI
  • Deployment controls and also, advanced administration 
  • Storage resources and also, dedicated cloud computing 
  • Consume Power BI content
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Capabilities and Restriction for Users with the Power BI Free License 

Power BI Free license comes with some feature limitations, including:

  • No support to analyze in Excel 
  • No peer-to-peer sharing 
  • Missing email subscriptions 
  • No API embedding 
  • No app workspaces 
  • lastly, it does not allow to share created reports with non-Pro users 

Explaining Power BI License Types and Capabilities 

Each of the Power BI licenses comes in different capabilities. It is essential for the organizations to get to know these capabilities to ensure they will end up with the right one.

Power BI Descktop Cost Vs Power Bi Service cost Vs On-premise

Power BI Desktop 

This version of Power BI refers to the free, self-service data analysis tool that can be installed on the computer or local system to access Power BI’s basic features. It is also used as a report authoring tool. It also connects lots of cloud data and on-premises sources to transform data into interactive visuals.

Hence, this license is ideal for individual professionals and small business owners who do not need large-scale integration and collaboration at all times.

Power BI Pro 

The Pro version, the Power BI’s full version, is capable of using Power BI in creating reports and dashboard with unlimited viewing, and sharing, and using the created reports.

Moreover, the Pro version allows the users to share the dashboards, reports, and data with a large number of other users with a Pro license as well. They can also create an app-based workspace and enjoy a 10GB storage limit per user.

Power BI Premium 

Unlike Desktop and Pro licenses, Power BI Premium provided a dedicated unit capacity for users in an organization. The Premium Workspace can be used to host up to 50GB datasets and offer a total of 100TB storage in the cloud.

BI Embedded enables the organizations to use their own hardware and dedicated capacity instead of relying on the shared capacity.

Power BI Desktop vs Power BI Pro vs Power BI Premium 

For a big picture of the different Power BI license types, take a look at the comparison table for Power BI cost below:

Power BI DesktopPower BI ProPower BI Premium
Pros: Free, self-service data analysis Connect to over 70 on-premises and cloud data sourcesTransform and model data Create graphs and charts Share reports using the Power BI service Create dashboards and reports that are visual collectionsPros: Enable peer-to-peer sharing Create workspaces Share reports, dashboards, and also, data with other Power BI users Integrate with other MS solutions like Azure data servicesPros: Give space and capacity in MS-hosted cloud Allow a choice on how to apply the dedicated capacityOffer flexibility to publish reports without a license requirement to every recipient Deliver greater performance and scale than the shared capacityConsistent capabilities set and access to the latest embedded analytics features
Cons: x Does not allow reports and dashboards viewing x Does not allow to share reports with other BI users x Does not allow to use Office 365 E5 Groups in Power BIx No app workspaces, API embedding, and email subscriptionsCons: x No paginated layout for printing Cons: x Limited to reports and dashboard viewing x Does not allow the creation and publish apps

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Content Creation, Content Publication and Content Consumption Capabilities in A Different Version of Power BI 

Power BI DesktopPower BI ProPower BI Premium 
Content CreationPrepare data and build unlimited visualizations; included in all Office 365 Enterprise E5Ability to analyze data from the service in Excel and maximum 1GB report sizeAllow dashboard and report wrapping in an app and shared with free license users
Content Publication Publish the report to the web Publish content to other workspaces, share content with users with Pro license, and share dashboardsFlexibility to public reports across the organization without requiring the users to be licensed individually
Content ConsumptionUse 10GB storage in the cloud to host Power BI reports and Excel workbooksSet up email subscription and use collaborative workspaces to reports and dashboards A huge step up in storage, data refresh and compute capability 


The Power BI Cost and license choice will depend on your organization’s size and consumption needs, such as how many need to access or review reports, how many need a dashboard or create reports, or how many need an at-glance reporting style. So, take time to assess each tier and determine which one best fits your organization.