Microsoft May Offer Own Mobile Data Plan

John Lister's picture

Rumors suggest that Microsoft will allow Windows 10 users a way to access mobile data connections without having to deal directly with mobile carriers. The system would require a special Microsoft SIM card, and could make life easier for people on the move.

There's no official confirmation Microsoft yet, but the company has already published an app in the Windows 10 store. At the moment the app, simply titled "Cellular Data", appears to be a placeholder while the 'further details' link points back to the main Microsoft website.

The app description says it will let customers connect even where WiFi isn't available. Customers will be able to "connect with - and pay for - a mobile data plan on [their] Windows 10 device using only [a] Microsoft account ... That means no fixed contract and no long term commitments to a mobile network operator." (Source:

Special SIM Card Required

The description goes on to say customers will need a Microsoft SIM card in their device, and that the service will be available only in some countries. It also says that initially the service will only cover domestic use, with international roaming coming later.

While it's possible to figure out some of the details behind the plan, some questions remain. It's clear the service will involve Microsoft acting as a mobile virtual network operator. That means it won't operate the data network itself, but will instead pay a fee to access an existing network.

What's uncertain is whether Microsoft will work with a single network or allow access to multiple networks. The former would be a simpler option, with one website reporting that Microsoft has indeed signed such a deal. The downside is that customers would be reliant on that network offering good coverage everywhere they wanted to visit, which is rarely if ever the case in the US. (Source:

Service Could Cover Multiple Carriers

The other possibility is that the SIM card be set up to access multiple networks operated by different carriers, automatically switching as needed. That would extend the coverage area. It could also allow for price competition, though Microsoft might charge a standard fee regardless of who was actually handling the data.

Pricing is also an issue. Given the pay-as-you-go element of the deal, it seems logical that the service would work out more expensive on a per-megabyte basis than dealing direct with carriers on a long-term contract.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use cellular data on a Windows 10 device? Would you be interested in paying for access as and when you needed it rather than signing up to a monthly deal? Do you trust Microsoft to offer a fairly-priced and reliable service?

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Dennis Faas's picture

If Microsoft wanted to get their devices out to millions of people, they should keep the price extremely affordable for budget minded people when it comes to pay-as-you-go mobile data. More people using Microsoft devices means more money for Microsoft through third party services. The only major stipulation is that any services running on the device should not drain the pay-as-you-go data plan (such as WUDO).

Colin Sedgwick's picture

This deal if it goes ahead would seem to me the way it should already be. If the service providers weren't difficult/obstructive and wholesaled access to each other when roaming (without the exorbitant fees we currently have) so as to provide quality services to everyone.
Microsoft may recover some of their lost respect if they went all the way and negotiated wholesale deals and provided SIM's and affordable deals for windows phones as well, this would give the existing service providers something to worry about. Services like WUDO would need to be turned off by default in this situation or excluded from the data usage.