AT&T, T-Mobile, and more major carriers will support Always Connected PCs

During CES 2018, Microsoft announced the first batch of carriers that will officially support Always Connected PCs based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform. At the time, there were some notable names missing from that list, but Qualcomm has now revealed more major carriers around the world have jumped on board to support Always Connected PCs on their LTE networks.

Notable for U.S. customers are the additions of T-Mobile and AT&T, but there are a number of other worldwide carriers on board as well. Here's a look:

  • Australia – Telstra
  • China – CMCC (China Mobile Communications Corporation)
  • France – Transatel
  • Germany – Deutsche Telekom
  • Ireland - Cubic
  • Spain – Telefónica
  • Switzerland – Swisscom
  • U.S.A – T-Mobile and AT&T

These join China Telecom, Italy's TIM, EE in the UK, and Sprint and Verizon in the U.S., all of which were announced at CES.

This follows the reveal of the first entries in the Always Connected PC category by Microsoft and its hardware partners in early December. Running on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, the PCs, including HP's Envy x2, ASUS' NovaGo, and Lenovo's Miix 630, are expected to offer exceptional battery life, instant-on, and persistent LTE connections. Those advantages won't come without some tradeoffs, but they should end up being a boon for a lot of PC users.

As for when and where you'll be able to get your hands on these Always Connected PCs, Qualcomm says that they'll start landing on shelves at the following retailers "beginning this calendar quarter":

  • U.S.A – Amazon, Microsoft Stores
  • Australia – Microsoft Stores
  • China –
  • Italy – Unieuro
  • France – Boulanger, Fnac
  • U.K. – Asus Stores, BT Shop, John Lewis, Microsoft Stores, PC World

Mobile carriers in some countries will also stock Always Connected PCs at their retail locations.

Why Microsoft may gain an upper hand with carriers thanks to 'Always Connected' PCs

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • "First half 2018" was quoted in other articles. It keeps getting pushed back. It was originally supposed to launch in 2017. I wonder if they will even make it out before back to school at this rate.
  • Err, the article, and Qualcomm, say "this calendar quarter". That means next month. What are you talking about?
  • "For more about device availability, consumers should look for specific mobile operator announcements and offers anticipated in the first half of 2018." Qualcomm said first half of 2018 in this press release.
  • Ummmm...."beginning this calendar quarter" IS "first half 2018."  In fact, it is first quarter 2018.  So, what's your point besides trying to make a snarky comment?
  • I think his point was that saying first half when you mean first quarter makes it sound like a further delay has been added when they are still saying first quarter. Saying 'this decade' would also be technically correct as that would include this quarter, but would be misleading in the same way (though more extreme to demonstrate the point).
  • If was this "quarter", which is almost over, why wouldn't they say in the coming weeks or next month? If it was actually that close, they would know it. The wording must be vague for a reason. I wouldn't expect anything until May/June at the earliest and wouldn't be surprised if it is pushed back further. If you read this press release, they actually say first half 2018 and I doubt they mean fiscal 2018.
  • You're mixing press releases and factual statements in an attempt to continue your snarky commentary. The press release quoted in this article ( clearly states that "Beginning this calendar quarter,  these Always Connected PC's are expectecd to be available online and hitting store shelves at the following leading retailers:..." This is CLEARLY a statement about device availability at retail shops and online. The press release that you quote ( is NOT a statement of device availability online or at retail shops.  Instead, this press release is about the mobile operators will support these devices.  The relevant statement in this press release CLEARLY states, "For more about device availability, consumers should look for specific mobile operator announcements and offers anticipated in the first half of 2018." [Emphasis is mine.]  This has nothing at all to do with when the device may be available from retailers...specifically the retailers listed in the press release. Two different press releases with two different messages for specific purposes.  One to talk about the partnerships with mobile operators and one to talk about the timing of retail availability.  Stop trying to cast facts just to support your negative position. And, yes, there are plenty of people who would buy an Always On PC who would never need to take out a mobile data plan for it.  Yes, that is one advantage but it is not a requirement for owning an Always on PC.  Many are content with wifi and would just want the battery life....see the overwhelming majority of iPad owners.
  • It was always stated that they would launch in 2018
  • They definitely said next year when they unveiled this in 2016.
  • It even says in this article that the first devices were unveiled last December (which was 2017).
  • They first announced and demoed it in 2016 and said they would be available "next year".
  • Note that "begnining this calendar quarter" is a hyperlink that takes you to the NEW Qualcomm press announcement that clearly states "this calendar quarter" which means "by the end of March" or "Next month". 
  • I posted another Qualcomm press release from today that says first half 2018. Which is it?
  • Why is there a need to support? Why cant it work like you just pop a sim in your LTE enabled ARM device?
  • Network operations is a complicated thing. There are bandwidth capacities and provisioning/authorization considerations that have to occur at the hardware level.
  • Yet if i buy something like an HP Elite with LTE i can put any sim I like in it. Doesn't seem so complicated.
  • Because that work was already done before the product was released.
  • But I can buy a device from overseas that has never been approved in my country, drop in a sim and it works fine. OK, I won't get so much helpful 'support' from the phone line help desk but I can so live with that. Really, this support thing is just a rubber stamp. Just use it and stop worrying about phone companies. Life gets easier that way.
  • @MatsuDano. Not really, no. A LTE modem in modern smartphones can support almost all LTE bands. It's just the certification process imposed by certain carriers complicate matters otherwise all OEMs would sell a single device that is global compatible. It's cheaper and guarantees interoperability.
  • That's what I'm trying to say. That certification process has parts around provisioning/authorization in netops that makes it so you can't just pop any SIM into any device and expect it to work. I'm probably not the clearest because I'm super tired today. Apologies :)
  • Ah I see, no problem at all. Happens to all of us 😂.
  • Hi Rahul: This category uses eSIM. Each carrier needs to support the devices to enable them on their networks.
    I talked about that a bit here:
    "Why Microsoft may gain an upper hand with carriers thanks to 'Always Connected' PCs"
  • Yea, but I read here that they also support normal sims which is what I'll be using. No way I'll be tied to the one company offering 'support' for these things.
  • I actually would want an e-sim if I can hot swap profile between a NB and a Portable. I can give the profile to my NB once my Portable goes low BAT I can active the profile on my NB and use it as a thin, light, long lasting pocket wifi (useful during travel or sending people overseas). Maybe I can run one profile in 2 devices? Would be great tho but I suppose service provider wouldn't want that.
  • I hope they can still take regular sim as well or else it will limit them too much.  Anyway if I go to that category he sim/esim thing won't be for me, I'm not ready to pay for a second cellular connection anc I will just feed it through my phone's hotspot.
  • They've delayed for so long it makes more sense to cancel the first gen devices and go straight to the ones with the SD845. What's another couple months for a significantly better experience?
  • What delay?
  • They were originally supposed to launch late 2017. Then it became early 2018 and now it is "first half 2018".
  • Cellular carriers are going to support a new class of cellular devices?
    That's crazy!
  • Makes sense. These types of devices are likely to be very popular with businesses and police forces. Basically, anyone who needs cellular access on a laptop to file reports or access data.
  • They already have solutions that work just fine. This won't be popular, at least not for a while. We still do not know how they perform in the real world and I bet these initial devices be buggy and half baked, especially given the delays. Dell passing on the first gen is also a bad sign.
  • I hope these devices are not region locked to specific bands.
  • I could renew my skype service with my own phone number if this going to be used for that mythical surface mobile ph
  • Im gonna finally get me a 4G LTE Surface Pro then man love TMOBILE
  • These are the ARM devices, correct?
  • No Verizon. Fail.
  • Read.
  • Your teachers failed you.