Microsoft: the Lumia 950 will launch as an AT&T exclusive despite interest from other carriers

Microsoft: the Lumia 950 will launch as an AT&T exclusive despite interest from other carriers
Last week, Microsoft announced its first flagship smartphones for quite a while now, the Windows 10 Mobile-based Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Although Microsoft did manage to draw some initial interest from potential customers in the US, the company will intentionally limit the availability of its phones in the US.

Just a few hours after Microsoft's event ended, AT&T announced that it will sell the Microsoft Lumia 950 through its channels, with the announcement failing to mention any details about a possible exclusivity. As days passed, what followed was a mixture of reports, rumors, and unofficial statements from Microsoft executives regarding a possible exclusivity arrangement.

A few days ago, CNET reported that the Microsoft Lumia 950 will be an AT&T exclusive as no other major carrier in the US has shown interest in the smartphone. T-Mobile CEO John Legere was quick to react to this report and raged on Twitter about how the Magenta carrier did not refuse to carry the new Lumia flagships, but that Microsoft simply offered it to AT&T as an exclusive. Hours later, CNET updated the original report to state that the Lumia 950 will not be an AT&T exclusive, but did so without providing any explanations.

If all of this leaves you deeply confused, there's no need to worry, we all are. Fortunately, Microsoft recently responded to an inquiry from Venture Beat, partially clarifying the matter. Here's Microsoft's statement:



What this means is that the Lumia 950 will be carried exclusively by AT&T at launch, and that broader availability will probably follow at some point in the future. One interesting detail to note is that AT&T did not mention the Lumia 950 XL in its announcement, which probably means that the carrier will only offer the smaller Lumia 950.

Although AT&T did strike some luck in the past through its exclusivity deals (hello pre-2012 iPhones), its recent exclusivity deals translated into flops for the manufacturers. Examples of such failures are the Amazon Fire Phone and the HTC First "Facebook Phone". 

Fortunately for any T-Mobile subscriber who has fallen in love with the new Lumia 950, you don't have to wait it out for the companies to kiss and make up. Microsoft will sell both the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL unlocked from its online store, and these phones will be compatible with both AT&T's and T-Mobile's networks. If you're on Verizon or Sprint, you're completely out of luck for the moment.

What do you guys think? Would you get the Lumia 950 or the Lumia 950 XL on Verizon or Sprint if given the opportunity?


source: Venture Beat | CNET

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51 Comments

1. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

The term DOA comes to mind. Good going Microsoft!

25. Penny

Posts: 1860; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

PEOPLE, read the source quote...there is another interpretation for this information. Microsoft is partnering with AT&T on the Lumia 950 as the only carrier in the U.S. to subsidize and promote the phones. However, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL will both be available unlocked directly from Microsoft -- just not subsidized through your carrier. My guess is that broader availability later down the road only applies to carriers with more fringe requirements, such as CDMA for Verizon and Sprint.

36. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

I received my windows tablet. Windows is very smooth and fast and very user friendly. Better than ios. Interface is very familier, just like desktop windows. It took me only 5 minuts to get used to with it. But Ppl are right about apps availability. Almost all apps which I use are none existant on windows. I hardly find few apps which I can count on my fingers. Windows is light years behind in apps and I can imagine, how boring it will be to use windows for a long time. Only good thing is hyper for youtube and tubecast are better than original youtube.

39. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

My guess since you have a Windows tablet is that you can still use desktop apps and web apps. I have a Dell convertible laptop/tab (keyboard swivels 360 degrees) and although apps are lacking, I can still load desktop apps and use web (for example watch YouTube or Amazon Prime Video using browser).

43. shyguy3763

Posts: 52; Member since: Oct 27, 2013

I sure hope so,lots of disapointed Sprint and Verizon customers like me,hopefully it happens

2. Galen20K

Posts: 577; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

What a Cluster-Eff.... good going Microsoft, you've shot yourself in the foot 0nce again.(As if you could even afford to....)

27. Bernoulli

Posts: 4361; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

Eh this is the first time in the smartphone Era that Microsoft has made an exclusivity deal, the only other one was with Verizon and that was a flip phone. Or what did you mean by once again? Just asking or if you're just trolling well honesty is best lol

3. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Stupid They Should At Least Include The XL In The Deal.

4. niteiknight

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

Wow. Microsoft you are incredibly stupid. It's like they want out of the smartphone business or something...

13. niteiknight

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

I mean, fine. Make the phone an AT&T exclusive. But why didn't Microsoft make the unlocked version CDMA capable? It couldn't have been that hard to throw in the proper radios and bands necessary to allow the unlocked versions to work on Verizon and Sprint. It's intentionally shooting themselves in the foot, and is basically a giant f**k-you to any Verizon and Sprint WP fans.

49. Plutonium239

Posts: 1232; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Because CDMA is used by the minority of cellphone carriers in the world. Its an antiquated technology that makes it more expensive for OEMs to manufacture phones to work with...

5. Rydsmith unregistered

You're not Android, Microsoft. People are willing to spend $400+ on an unlocked Android phone. Yours...no. Another DOA Windows Phone.

6. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

DEAD ON ARRIVAL! Next phone please! anyone know if Microsoft is still working on a true surface phone? You know the one that when you connect to a monitor becomes a real computer, not some weird big screen mode phone.

40. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

If it uses an Intel CPU, then yes.

7. kick413

Posts: 162; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Way to cripple your own product. Carriers are interested and you're not gonna sell with them?? Stupid

8. lorenzattractor unregistered

So, will Microsoft also sell it unlocked in the U.S.? By this post it seems like At&t will sell their version and MS will sell the unlocked version.

9. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Carrier exclusives actually make sense for phones that have no demand. If no one buys it's, no one buys it and you will have a warehouse of At and t branded phones sitting in one warehouse. The free advertising and marketing that is on the At and t contract is a bonus. If they released it on all carriers, you would have phones sitting in multiple warehouses with all big four Carrie branding. The former sounds way better than the latter to me. Microsoft made the right move no matter what the windows phone fans think. They are almost as delusional as HTC fans. Wider availability and marketing doesn't always work. Sometimes you just spread your wares too thin when it's better to concentrate them in one area or market.

21. alterans

Posts: 15; Member since: Jun 03, 2015

There are already several phones on the market that support the necessary frequencies to work on ALL four carriers. The new Nexus comes to mind. It's not like it's expensive to include these radios. Instead of having all these exclusives, just launch ONE phone that supports them all. If MS did it this way, overstock issues wouldn't be a problem. To be honest, the majority of customers (nobody who reads a website like this) actually believe that the carrier branding means that these devices are manufactured by the carriers. I say cut the branding all together, except for those from the companies who actually make them.

24. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Carrier branding is not a choice by the OEM, it's a stipulation by the carrier. Only the iPhone is exempt from carriers branding or changing the phone, and only then because it is the best selling phone on the market year after year.

50. Plutonium239

Posts: 1232; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Its not all about frequencies, its about fundamental differences between how CDMA works vs GSM. The majority of the world uses GSM and the minority uses the antiquated CDMA technology. It is much more expensive to make a phone that works on CDMA networks or that works on both. By going with GSM, as usual, Microsoft is targeting the majority of the world.

10. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Ms, why did u bought nokia's mobile services. If u don't know how to sell phones.

29. Bernoulli

Posts: 4361; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

What are you talking about? Even nokia themselves used to do thes practices.

11. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

who complain, DOA price drop then I pick one up... easy

17. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

I like your way of thinking good sir.

30. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Yup! A time tested, sound strategy. Works well with all smartphone brands. Its just a matter of how long is the wait. Lumia about average 3 to 5 months, Samsung around 4 to 6 months. For Apple, its going to be 11 months to a full year.

12. hafini_27

Posts: 951; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

If you don't want your phones to sell Microsoft, just give it up. Stupid move for something major as this.

14. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Major tech sites like cnet and PCMag have as much as pronounced the new Lumiae dead on arrival. They're just good enough, nothing more. MS just isn't that committed to them. They were way more excited about the Surface Book, and they're probably prepping a Surface Phone and don't want everyone paying too much attention to the old (Nokia) product line. They had to release something though.

18. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Have you Seen the surface Phone mock up?? It looked beautiful!!! Pair that with a SD820 and color me interested

19. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

It had a stylus, 5.7 in screen,keyboard and all!

20. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Maybe that's where they need to head. Make phones even more functional, play up Continuum, basically have your phone do anything a PC can do. Until then though, Windows Phone 10 looks a lot like Windows Phone 8.

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