Along with the free license, Power BI offers a couple of different licensing options. The main license types to worry about are called Premium and Pro. Which license you need largely depends on the audience that you need to present your data to. Power BI Premium is heavily geared towards those looking to present a dedicated data set to a large audience, but if that isn’t your target then you don’t need this licensing.
Power BI Pro
Users who have Power BI Pro are licensed individually and can publish reports out to their personal workspace or a group workspace. Users licensed with this option can publish as many reports as they choose (up until they hit their dedicated capacity limit) and share with as many users as they want (as long as those users are licensed).
The main difference between Power BI Free and Pro is the ability to publish the report to a workspace. Other useful features are noticeably missing from the free version as well, such as the ability to refresh hourly and integrating with Office 365 Apps. The image below sums up the main differences between Power BI Pro and the free version of Power BI:
Power BI Premium
Licenses for Power BI Premium apply to content rather than users. If you have one large data set that needs to be viewed by many users, you can license that content and have as many users as you want view the content. Along with this capability you get dedicated server space and geographically diverse nodes to help boost performance.
Power BI premium is clearly targeted at the enterprise market rather than the mid-size business or individual user. While incredibly feature rich and great for displaying a data-set to a wide audience, the hefty price tag is going to give some users pause.
Whether you need Power BI Pro or Premium is entirely based on your needs and your intentions with your data. Power BI Premium is really nice for presenting large datasets to a large organizational or public audience. However the cost of Power BI Premium can be prohibitive to many users. If the audience for your reports is smaller and you work with many different datasets, stick with Power BI Pro. However, if you only build datasets for yourself, without publishing them stick with the free version of Power BI!
If you want more information about Power BI Pro vs Premium, you can find it on Microsoft’s website here.