Following a slew of conflicting reports, and one notably heated response from T-Mobile CEO John Legere, Microsoft has issued a statement saying that the limited carrier availability of the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL is indeed part of its "short-term strategy" for the smartphone duo's launch. Speaking to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft issued the following statement:
"We're refocusing our channel strategy, narrowing it in the short-term and plan for broader operator availability longer term. While there was interest across the board from U.S. operators, currently we've made the decision to have AT&T carry the Lumia 950, and then sell both the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL unlocked through our own channel in the Microsoft Stores," said a company spokesman in the latest statement on the topic.
"In Europe, Deutsche Telekom will carry the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and we'll have more to share about other carriers shortly," the spokesperson added.
So it seems that there was indeed genuine interest from other U.S. carriers in selling the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, but Microsoft ultimately decided to go with just AT&T in the short-term, and is using a similar strategy with Deutsche Telekom in Europe. Microsoft does leave open the possibility of "broader operator availability in the long-term," but it looks as though you'll have to go with the unlocked version of either phone if you're on any carrier besides AT&T in the U.S. or Deutsche Telekom in Europe for the time being.