On the 1st of December Microsoft has introduced this new offer for small businesses. During the December “Modern Work & Security Partner Community Call” Microsoft has shared some information about Microsoft Teams Essentials
The offer is available to companies up to 300 seats and is less costly than other existing offers
Teams Essentials does not include SharePoint Online or Exchange Online mailboxes
That is why the integration with Gmail and other third-party mail systems is key to Teams Essentials (the integration is available also with with on-premises mail systems)
It is possible to add a Phone System license on a per-user base so the Microsoft Teams Essentials offer is a good (and low cost) starting point to initiate the adoption of the modern workplace in small business companies.
So, in a nutshell, Microsoft Teams Essentials is a good starting point into the Microsoft Modern Workplace for small companies that are really sensible about costs and benefits.