Microsoft could be planning to launch its own data-only LTE SIM cards

Patrick O'Rourke

January 8, 2016 11:17am

In a strange but appealing move, especially for data strapped Canadian smartphone users, rumours indicate Microsoft is preparing to release its own brand of LTE SIM cards, designed for Windows 10 devices. The software giant reportedly plans to allow Windows 10 smartphones and LTE-capable tablets to connect to various mobile network operators without requiring a traditional wireless contract.

Microsoft has already launched an app listing on its U.S. and Canadian Store that seems to shed light on the company’s future plans.

“Connect with – and pay for – a mobile data plan on your Windows 10 device using only your Microsoft account information. That means no fixed contract and no long term commitments to a mobile network operator. Now you can buy and use mobile data at your own convenience,” reads the app’s description.

The current “Cellular Data” app listing states users are able to purchase data through Windows mobile devices and that this bandwidth is then tied to a Microsoft account.

It’s still unclear what markets the service will launch in, how much it will cost, but the app listing suggests the company is working on something. Hopefully the company’s new data service makes its way to Canada.

“Service is available in some markets and offers are for domestic plans only – international roaming offers will be available soon,” reads the app’s description.

Apple launched a similar platform called Apple SIM last year, allowing users to connect to various networks around the world for a fee. Unlike what we currently know about Microsoft’s rumoured service, Apple Sim is focused on providing users with roaming deals in a given country.

SourceThe Verge
  • Nicholas Burke

    This is even better now. I’ve been looking to get a Surface Pro 3 LTE and get a SIM with Fido, but if there is the possibility i can do so with MS and pay less, sign me up

    • MassDeduction

      There’s an LTE version of the Surface Pro 3? I’m not aware of one. There’s an LTE version of the Surface 3, but not the Surface Pro 3, to the best of my knowledge.

  • MassDeduction

    If I can buy several Microsoft SIMs, and if it lets me buy data that’s attached to my Microsoft Account, and then use that data on all the Microsoft SIMs, then I’m stoked. Providers generaly want $10 per device just to keep each SIM active each month, plus the data used on each device. If this lets me avoid the per SIM/per device fees, then fantastic! One data pool and as many SIMs (with no activation fee) using it? As long as the data rates are even rudimentarily competitive (and if it’s saving me activation fees, that may not be hard), then sign me up!

    • Luke Perry Glover

      That would be amazing. I’ll 100% get it, unless it costs a fortune.

  • TomsDisqusted

    Now they just need to get the CRTC to allow Skype (owned by MS) to allocate Canadian phone numbers and this would be huge!

    Canada is one of the few countries in the world where Skype, and other companies that might threaten robellus, are blocked from that.

    • Jim__R

      Is the CRTC the direct problem, or is the issue that 911 service must be provided with the phone number and that results in a small monthly cost that must be borne by someone?

    • TomsDisqusted

      My understanding is that it was arranged that foreign companies couldn’t allocate numbers, to provent foreign competiton. So eg. when Dell wanted to create a VoIP service in Canada they had to create an awkward arrangement with a Canadian company (Fongo).

      Cost of 911 service is not the issue.

  • rgl168

    Plan for Microsoft data SIM is pretty much said and done, but whether that service will be available in Canada is another story.

    This is the news release from Transatel: [bitly link 1S8T68a for original article; and note – Transatel’s service countries – so far – does not appear to include Canada… hopefully that would change]

    Transatel Chosen as a Service Provider for Windows 10 Cellular Data Service on Select Windows 10 Devices


    Paris, FRANCE – January 4th, 2016

    Transatel, the leading European MVNE (Mobile Virtual Network Enabler), announced that Microsoft has retained its SIM 901 solution to support the upcoming paid cellular data service for Windows 10.

    Laptops and tablets equipped with Windows 10, a cellular broadband modem, and a Microsoft SIM Card utilizing Transatel’s 901 technology, will allow consumers to easily and conveniently purchase pre-paid 3G/4G-LTE data services that will enable a breadth of Windows 10 features and services when on the go.

    Eric Lockard, Corporate VP at Microsoft: “We want to promote the adoption of cellular connectivity on Windows tablets and laptops to complement classic Wi-Fi connectivity and make it easier for consumers to connect to the internet, anywhere, anytime. The Transatel SIM 901 solution helps us reach this objective in multiple markets through a single interface. In just a few clicks, consumers will be able to easily buy pre-paid data plans on supported Windows 10 devices.”

    Transatel provides the cellular data service, and Windows 10 makes it easy and convenient to purchase. Together, consumers can purchase pre-paid cellular data where and when it is needed using their Microsoft account which helps keep credit card and other personal information secure. There are no long term commitments.

    Bertrand Salomon, co-founder and Deputy CEO of Transatel: “We’re excited to be part of the Windows 10 user journey. The combination of Transatel’s mobile core network and service platform and Windows10 provides a completely new end-user experience. I anticipate that customers will enjoy the convenience of embedded cellular connectivity in Windows 10 enabled devices.”

    Transatel’s innovative 901 SIM card utilizes an international MNC (Mobile Network Code) to enable multi-local connectivity. SIM 901 is non-geographic and therefore provides 3G/4G-LTE connectivity in multiple countries at local conditions. With this SIM card, device manufacturers and OEMs can provide seamless internet connectivity in multiple markets, and end-users can enjoy being on-line whenever and wherever within the same environment. To date, Transatel covers 38 countries with this service, and will reach 50 by end Q1 2016[1]. The countries where cell data connectivity will be available on supported Windows 10 devices have not yet been announced.

  • … If only Google would do something similar for my android devices.