AT&T sells more Windows Phones than any other carrier in the world

We’re here at the AT&T Developer Summit going on right now at CES 2013 where traditionally AT&T would reveal new devices to their lineup (even if just small additions). Unfortunately so far, that does not seem to be the case as they’re just teasing with “you haven’t seen anything yet” for new 2013 phones. That means they’re probably holding off until Mobile World Congress or CTIA in a few weeks...

That’s not to say though AT&T didn’t bring up our bread and butter, Windows Phone. President and CEO of AT&T Ralph de la Vega on stage did tout that the carrier sells more Windows Phones than any other carrier in the world—something for which our readers should know what with their consistent large lineup and ability to grab exclusive devices. They also bragged about their Windows 8 tablet support, noting that they are the only US carrier selling 4G LTE enabled devices.

Of course AT&T this year will have some competition worldwide and here we mean China, whose network is just slightly bigger (a few hundred million or so) meaning that number could shift since the Lumia 920 is reportedly selling well there (assuming they’re in stock).

We’ll be here all day in case there are some AT&T tidbits that are in the works e.g. the Samsung ATIV S. AT&T has a great history with Samsung and we’re getting a tad impatient that the two companies appear to be skipping that impressive device. Hopefully there’s more to come.


Reader comments

AT&T sells more Windows Phones than any other carrier in the world


Why would you want the poor build quality and the awful screen when the Lumia 920 is probably going to be much cheaper?

Sounds like someone who has actually never touched the phone or used it extensively...amiright?

The ATIV S brings some great things for the table. Let's leave the cheerleading on the side and instead promote the idea that more devices and choices is a good thing...

Agreed Daniel, we need as many OEM's as we can get on the Windows Phone platform and unlike the 8X and 920, the ATIV S brings Micro SD card expansion and removable battery. Cant forget that it brings the biggest screen on a Windows Phone to market as well.

I'm on T-MO US. I'm holding out for this device for myself. My wife is using the L810 not my cup of tea. I was looking for something larger and the ATIVs fit the bill. I use Office all day the larger screen is what works for me. I'm not careless with my devices so they tend to last. But anything can break. It's a good device. and for me that is what matters.

I still maintain that the biggest factor in android's huge marketshare is the sheer number of OEM's producing low quality android devices. I know more people without data plans that have cheap sh*ty android phones they hate, then I do people with actual smartphones.  I went in to the bell store (in Canada) with to ask about windows phone 8 and I noticed they didnt even sell any standard feature phones, just lots of low quality android.

This is very true. Working at a carrier store I saw upfront how cheapo prepaid androids were used to replace a lost or broken iPhone. I'm curious what percentage of the millions of devices out there are high end phones being sold.

I own an international GS3, it's sadly not a real step up. The screen is absolutely dismal when compared to the 920 and Samsung hasn't released a device that even felt as though it was decent quality since the galaxy captivate. Fisher Price plastics and shoddy aluminum. The only redeeming quality is expandable storage. It's good that we have more devices but why would anyone pick this over the 920? I've held one once and was quite certain I'd break it if I looked at it wrong.

A lot of people don't understand this.  That's why Nokia is making the 510 and still has the older WP7.5/7.8 devices on the market.  They have to get WP to the point were they are sold in blister packs for $100/$150 - no contract on the low end.  That's when you see WP marketshare really grow, not on expensive phones that most people will get on contract at least in the US.

Because he might want the storage for apps while also having a huge collection of music. I'm fortunate in that 32GB straight will be way more than enough for me. But I was digging all the storage available for use on it however I am blessed with 1000GB data a month on my contract. But others might not be so lucky, or they may be stuck with craptacular signal, etc. It's a good phone in it's own right and I was seriously considering it over the 920 simply because I wanted a removable battery and enough on board storage to store plenty of apps. Fortunately I can also get by with the lack of removable battery in the 920, as I have a nice neat portable battery that connects via USB.

All that talking how well WP sells, exactly like last year and still I bet there's less than 5 milion WP8 devices sold so far.

5 million is better than zero, wouldn't you agree?
If only 5 million have been sold, I'd say that was decent, given that there isn't widespread distribution of these devices, barely 3 OEM's making these devices (with only a handful of WP8 devices made) ;not to mention stock shortages that carriers are having to deal with.

When Apple sold 45 million iPhones and 170 million Android phones were sold in the same time period, then 5 million is nothing to write home about.

these platforms are well established. android hits multiple price ranges because they spew out devices like no other. iphone has a cult like following id say if they do better this time around id call it a win even if it is a small win.

Not to be negative, but I remember touting the "WP is a new platform" line back when WP7 was having bad sales.  Well its two years later now, MS cannot rely on that excuse anymore.  Now I think MS is doing a lot of things right.  WP8 and W8 look great and they should have a halo effect on one another.  However, MS is still making some shockingly bad decisions.  As a user, I'm amazed that I have to pay for Angry Birds Star Wars on both my WP8 and my W8 devices, when my Android and iPhone friends can easily play their phone games on their tablets.  As a developer, I'm amazed that I have to pay for TWO different developer licenses to develop for WP8 and W8 marketplaces. I'm also amazed at situations like Maps, where on WP8 I'm told to use Nokia API's and on W8 I'm told to use Bing Maps API's.  I thought the Fall of 2012 would be when Windows and Windows Phone come together in a coherent ecosystem.  MS is close but still not there.

I agree with u on this. To much politics in Microsoft, as long as both division are separated they will never get there. That was Steven plans to put them together but politics came in the middle of it.

I hate this argument about paying for WP8 and WP8 apps.  The difference with iOS and Android is they are running phone OS's on their tables.  MS is running a desktop OS on their tablets.  I don't pay additional for apps I buy for my desktop/laptop and RT tablet.  When you buy an app for the iPad you would have to pay for it again on the Mac.

I understand your argument here, but try to understand that I'm looking at it from the consumer perspective.  Essentially, what is more important, using the same app on phone+tablet, or using the same app on tablet+PC?  For instance, I would play angry birds on my phone and tablet, but probably wouldn't play it on my 24inch desktop PC monitor when I have much better games on Steam to play.  Fundamentally I agree with Microsofts approach of combining tablet and PC, but its a transition, and for now its hard to explain to my Android and iPhone friends why I would have to purchase Angry Birds twice.  I think MS needs to provide some type of emulator at least to run WP apps in WinRT.  (Just so people know, I think Angry Birds is overrated, I'm just using it as a popular example)
Even if you disagree with me on that part, you have to agree with me on the developer perspective.  I mean seriously, MS is trying to play catch up here with developers and yet they charge devs for TWO yearly licenses?

I remembered clearly on iOS there are SD, HD and Universal variants of the same apps and most of the time you will have to pay for the different one.

Understandable but you have to realize that the use of the kernel has essentially sent wp back into infancy in terms of people using it. i agree that microsoft has to step up to the plate and put their money where their platform is, just as they do with windows and xbox, but at the same time i feel it shouldn't have to be that way, mainly because i think developers should give the platform a chance before saying "nah we're gonna stay on the band wagon." apple didnt have to pay for developers to ride them, nor did android, why should microsoft have to pay, for a platform that many reviewers say could be a serious contender if the apps were there?

Because Apple and Android didn't suffer from the chicken and the gg syndrome. Microsoft doesn't have the user base to attract top tier developers, and users won't buy the phones if there are no great apps. Microsoft had no choice to pay.

Can you please stop listening to King Crimson cause just knowing that you actually listen to good music makes it hard for me to think you're a total derptard for posting that comment.

I don't think so. WP8 is miles better than WP7.5 back then (I myself wasn't rooting for the 7.5 last year). This revamped OS managed to snag iPhone and Android owners unlike last year. And to have that power to actually pull these people out of the ecosystem they're already used to? This'll have to be more than 5M. (and remember China where Lumias are selling like pancakes now). Wait for their quarterly sales reports. Your doom and gloom "bet" won't hurt Nokia's sales, really. :))

Gotta say that about 3-4 of my iPhone owning friends have recently switched over to Lumia 820's and 920's and they love em. I know its only a few but its a massive shift in mindshare since WP7.5.

L920 owner myself. But what I care about the most, is the succes of WP8. Don't care about which OEM.

well i kind of do considering im a loyal nokia fan. This is their shot to gain momentum. this isnt to say i think the 8x or the 8s or the 820 or the ativ s are bad phones i love all of them equally for their own pros. Ativ has the largest screen. 920 has the fastest screen, and 8x has the most pixelated screen. Ativ has sd support, 920 has plentiful storage, and 8x has the minimum expected, ativ has thin body, nokia has packed to the brim body, and 8x has a sexy body. their each beautiful in their own respect and i hope they all do well but im a nokia fan at the end of the day and i want them to succeed, considering that samsung is already a well established manufacturer, and i hope htc bounces back as well.

Microsoft needs WP8 to succeed. This is probably their last chance.
And that is the reason why WP8 will succeed.

what Nokia needs is to release an Android based phone to make sure that they don't have all their eggs in one basket. 

Nokia brings solid build quality and great OS support to rival Samsung, something that other OEM's fail to do.

I am aware of that, that doesn't mean it can't be successfully attempted. Like i've mentioned above, I think Nokia brings something other OEM's fail to do, to successfully compete with Samsung.

The Ativ might be a sexy device but the lack of support Samsung is shown for Windowsphone kills the buzz for me. The 920 might bit be the sexiest looking wp8 device, but Nokia brings si much to the table that it makes up for it.

Exactly, that's why I can't get too excited about Samsung. They've shown very little interest in supporting WP8 with their rehashed SG3. And they seem to be more interested in developing Tizen then creating an excellent Windows Phone line-up.

This is because Nokia was too stupid to make the Lumia 920 for Verizon. That's like AT&T bragging about iPhone sales when they were the only ones with it.

This statement is merely a statement of your ignorance. Verizon didn't want anything to do with Windows Phone, Nokia or not.

AT&T maybe worlds largest carrier to sell Windows Phones....but when it comes to software updates they are the worst! Still running version number 7.10.7720 on my HTC Surround Windows Phone that was exclusive to AT&T so I didn't have a choice lol.

Here we go again with the hate comments... People are just starting to see how good w8 wp8 is.. Here's the scary part it will only get better...

Disappointing news that att is the biggest seller worldwide. Expected in the US but I was hoping to see adoption high enough overseas to put this crown there. Sales figures for Nokia might be shocking in the wrong direction....

Yeah, after all those stories we were fed about "sold out in Italy" or "massive lines in China," this could be kinda brutal is AT&T is the world leader. 

They might not be talking about current numbers... Overall they might be the best seller since they're the only carrier in the world who has tried. I think some carriers out there might catch up rather quickly though.

You did not get it right. ATT is the biggest seller worldwide, not because WP8 is not selling elsewhere, but simply because rest of the world does NOT have to buy from a carrier. The carrier thing is mostly unique to US and a little bit in Europe

Incorrect. Many people in Europe buy their phones from a carrier, they just aren't subsidized like they are in the US to do so. You can also buy your phone at other retailers unsubsidized, as you can in the US. 

Even if WP sales in, for example, the EU as a whole is bigger than in the USA, it's still unlikely that any European carrier would have more WP sales than AT&T, simply because we have more freedom when it comes to our choice in carriers, and buying unlocked, non-carrier branded, phones is also most likely more common in Europe than in the USA.

I would have expected tmobile to be a top carrier. The HD7 sold really well but they fell short on the Nokia line.

I wonder when they will be releasing their sales reports. I think the only thing that could hurt Nokia's sales here is itself. All these stock shortages meant potential sales that haven't been done. If there were actually stocks, there'd be more cashflow for them.

Of course AT&T sell more Windows Phone than any other carrier if they are the only ones that carry the 920. Put the 920 on T-mo and Verizon and the story will be different.

yea, if your the only carrier with the only Windows Phone anyone wants.. (NOKIA 920)... Look at all the other phones that came out for the other carriers.. Really.. You have the T-Mobile HTC 8X, It's a good phone, and then you have the Nokia 810, to me its a joke of a phone but again its no Nokia 920.. The HTC 8X with wireless recharge for Verizon, but again, its not a NOKIA 920. Sprint does not have a Windows Phone so there you go... The fact to the matter is that people love specs, plain and simple.. All the reason why Apple continues to keep the sheep lining up at the stores whne a new iPhone comes out and why Samsung Galaxy s3 and Galaxy Note puts Android on top. No hardware developer has made a Windows Phone that can stand against the specs and popularity of the iPhone and Galaxy line. Nokia 920 on At&t alienates a large percentage of customer that are not At&t customers. HTC Xone line is pretty good too. Here is a major problem with Windows Phone. It lacks great quality phones that stands out above the rest. (except for the NOKIA 920, but its only available on AT&T). Apple's iPhone did not become successful releasing budget phones. Samsung made a name for its self with the Galaxy S3 and Note, not budget phones. When you look at the Nokia 920 then compaire it to the NOKIA 810 on T-Mobile where they sell Galaxy S 3 phones and Galaxy Note Phablets, you might as well put the NOKIA 810 over by the flip phones. The only phone worth looking at if you like Windows Phone is the HTC 8X, but you still feel cheated because you want the Nokia 920.. Plus, Exclusivity sucks bad. How much effort do you think HTC will give to support Windows Phone 8, if they continue to make more money of the Android brand. Nokia has their own special apps, but the exclusive third party apps feels really unfair to an HTC 8X owner. I don't see this happening on Android. Microsoft needs to clean up their act about their ability to support the hardware makers and their software developers. Stop rapping them for money and stop limiting the OS.

Good for AT&T.  Looks like their exclusive BS paid off.  Hopefully they can manage the customer volume and keep everyone relatively happy.  At least customers got a decent phone out of the deal.  We shall see if the rest ends up being a goat rodeo, just like the exclusive iPhone deal.
In the mean time, Microsoft will spend the next 90 to 180 days trying to second guess the impact of what Nokia did to them with the exclusive 920 arrangement.  "What could have been?" - if the device was released with all carriers?  I am sure that Microsoft would love to see higher adoption numbers for WP8.  How to measure the impact of the 920 only going to customers who decided to get in bed with AT&T?  Perhaps the answer lies in the days ahead - when the exclusive arrangement expires and Nokia starts to push our their 920-like devices to T-Mobile and Verizon?  Or, just maybe, the Surface Phone answers more questions?