Soon, you'll be able to buy cellular data plans directly from the Windows Store

Microsoft is tackling the issue of cellular connectivity by launching its own SIM card for Windows 10 devices. The SIM card will work in conjunction with an app called Cellular Data, which lets you connect to mobile networks, offering prepaid plans that can be purchased directly from the Windows Store.

From the Windows Store listing:

Now you can buy and use mobile data at your own convenience. This is the easiest way to get online using a trusted nationwide network. Purchase a plan via Windows Store anywhere network coverage is available. The Cellular data app can get you connected at any time with a secure, high-speed mobile connection.This app is designed to work solely with specific Windows 10 devices and requires a Microsoft SIM card. Service is available in some markets and offers are for domestic plans only – international roaming offers will be available soon.

The FAQ for the app states that the service will be initially available in France, United Kingdom, and the United States, with pricing information not yet available at this stage. Based on the listing, it looks like the cellular service will be aimed at devices like the Surface 3, which offer LTE connectivity. We'll share additional details as we receive them.

Cellular Data on the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

Via: The Verge

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia for Android Central, Windows Central's sister site. When not reviewing phones, he's testing PC hardware, including video cards, motherboards, gaming accessories, and keyboards.

  • Is this something like Google Project Fi?
  • Whatever it is it's going into the 2nd slot on my 950xl!
  • Yeah that's the plan.
    Although I'm not getting 4G coverage on the second SIM
  • Check APN settings. It's the usual problem with dual sim phones.
  • The way dual sim works is only one sim getz data the second sim is usually pushed to 2g. There is only one radio to utilize data. This is normal. You can change which sim is used for data in settings. If you just aren't getting data and you should be you need to manually enter APN settings.
  • Good idea! Though ATT serves me well. I just hope there's an option to completely disable power going to the empty slot. Rumor has it that Single sim still gets more battery over dual sim with 1 sim filled.
  • I don't think phones will be in the list of devices that will work with Microsoft SIM. Most likely this will be available for Surface and Surface Book, or other portable devices.
  • Game changer!!! Move you cell number to skype, and use it for phone calls.
  • And for enterprise customers with a traveling workforce, give them devices with this SIM and let them use Skype for Business.
  • It's like Valentine's free Simcard!
  • Hahaha I thought the same!
  • Hopefully MSFT can include the hardware into new devices from now on. As against asking pple to buy a sim card. Because this implies that this service will only work with the LTE variant of the surface pro 4...maybe, just maybe the sim card with take the form of a micro SD card and be compatible with more devices.
  • No.
    It isn't just a matter of creating a sim card in micro SD form. It needs all the LTE radio hardware and antennas.
    Just use mobile hotspot on your phone - and don't worry about having dedicated data connections for individual devices.
  • Sdio is dead
  • It specifically mentions the surface 3 LTE in the article. You can't just hop on a cellular network without a modem.
  • Micro sd card is for storage...
  • ^ This. I am *not* giving up my only available SD card slot for something other than much-needed additional storage.
  • It doesn't seem to be a beta so maybe it isn't like Fi but more like getting away from the traditional carrier-for-data model. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yep more or less its a mnvo
  • Seems to me closer to Apples plans of having a reprogrammable sim card built into their devices. That's all this is, an "unlocked" sim card, that can be set up to work on different carrier networks which should all automatic when you buy a plan from the store.
  • I'm betting this is going to be expensive as hell. Prove me wrong, Microsoft.
  • Just curious how you got to that conclusion?
  • It's Microsoft, they have taken the Apple position on pricing.
  • They matched pricing with great bang for buck products. Apple on the other hand, they just have premium price with inferior products compared to what's on the market for similar price. If it's expensive in price, it'll come with a whole bunch of benefits to match or exceed what the market is offering for similar price. That's what's happening with the Surace line, would be disgraceful if they just went premium price with inferior service...
  • I can't afford Microsoft's premium devices but that's on me and not them. And I'll certainly not call them Apple for it. Some common sense..
  • X1 is cheaper than PS4, the Lumia 550-735 are very reasonably priced, L950 is cheaper than other phones with similar specs, and everything else is competitively priced. Please elaborate.
  • Box and ps4 are the same price $349
  • They could be had for $299 plus a $50 Microsoft gift card for the past three months.
  • In India where I live, Lumia and Surface(pro and not book) is way cheaper than Apple products.
  • You must be talking about sp3 which is last generation's product
  • Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are  selling  in India
  • Even the Surface Pro 4 and its Type cover are cheaper than the iPad Pro and its Magic keyboard respectively in India. So, no. Not just the SP3
  • If they have taken the Apple position - offering their own SIM as Apple have with iPads for the past 2 years - then the pricing is just the same as whatever carrier you connect with. All Apple, and in this case Microsoft do is provide an easy, off contract way to get a monthly data bundle. 
  • Why would it? It's just a SIM card
  • For the plan, I mean, sim cards cost 2 bucks.
  • The plans will be priced from the carriers
  • Yeah, I misunderstood the article, my bad.
  • Lol wouldn't be surprised if they dont cost more this is mnvo after all. Knowroaming for example in its home market(Canada) has a crappy data plan but it has nationwide coverage. So for the cdn. market I'd be perfect if they partnered with wind & Rogers as one could offer unlimited in its home area the other could make up the difference with say 1gb or 2
  • Most mvno companies, at least here in the States, are cheaper than our carriers.
  • Microsoft dipping it's toe in the water, I wonder if this is a long term plan to become a MVNO? If it is to become a MVNO then I hope it's restricted to just devices running Windows.
  • That & anyone willing to flash tizen on their Samsung
  • There's no reason why Microsoft can't do that.  They could pull a Google Fi with a much bigger name: Skype Wireless.  With a growing number of Skype affiliaed wifi out there and the ability to buy bulk data and cell coverage, there's no reason they couldn't do what Google is doing. The kicker is that Microsoft could conceivably go cross platform and make it work on iOS, Android, and Windows.
  • I d love the name "Sky wireless" :)
  • It cannot have "Sky" in the name because Sky Broadcaster will file a copyright infringement on the name. The same reason why Microsoft had to rename SkyDrive to OneDrive and they wouldn't want to make the same mistake again.
  • Yea, evidenty people in the U.K. are extraordinarily dense and can't tell the difference between a television show, and online file storage.  So, we have to accommodate the lowest common denominator.  :)
  • Sure that could work in the US
  • My sister is deeply embedded in the business side of things and I was really shocked to learn that MS is considered to be one of the biggest telecommunications companies on the planet courtesy of Skype.
  • Buy T-Mobile
  • Imagine all the data they would get.
  • Well they do now give mnvo's like knowroaming the unlimited treatment but this is new
  • No. Companies often flounder when they overreach.
  • This MVNO play is much more clever than that.
  • More evidence that Microsoft is taking over
  • Taking over with 1% market share for smartphones?
  • You missed the bit where it said Windows 10 devices.
  • Please show us a link where it says Windows Phone market share is 1%.
  • Google it. It's actually something around 2% global.
  • Bing it, you might get up to 50% higher result than from Google. That is, 3% :P
  • Global? Do you realize microsoft phones are sold in less countries than others manufacturers? In europe the market share is around 10%. I'm really sorry
  • In EU there are countries where WP I'd bigger than iOS. So what? No Groove, no Cortana, no Band, few Xbox apps. The list goes on. Wander what are the absolute numbers and not % share.
  • 1.6% in USA, around 10% in EU (dropping like a meteor....)
  • Funny to see that most guys confuse Windows 10 with Windows 10 mobile. May be a little victory(to celebrate) for Microsoft for thinning the line between the Desktop OS and Mobile OS? ;-)
  • 10% in the UK, bigger in Italy.
  • Probably just a dumb idea but I think it would be cool if you could buy that MS card with X amount of time/dollars loaded on to it. Then when your out and about and need access to wifi the carriers would bid on your service. You might be in the sticks with one or two carriers and get an ok rate or you might be in down town bug metro with 5 or 6 providers willing to let you bid. Making it automatically grab the best rate/signal/bandwidth would be cool. Make then greedy ass telecoms really fight for our business and the rates will drop...... Especially at the end of the month when they try to make numbers
  • Waoow
  • A sim card for any network would be cool for travel. Always ready to get connected
  • Try knowroaming its not cheap but works
  • Let's hope this means the next Surface Pro will be coming with LTE...
  • Yeah no kidding. They're are so few deceives without LTE currently (of course except for phones). Strange plan so far.
  • Yeah, and with carriers offering the ability to shear the same date between devices, there's no added fees. Now if only there was a way of sharing a data cap setting between devices to avoid overages...perhaps that could be enabled via Cortana on Android and Windows.
  • Most laptops still don't accept a sim card themselves so it makes sense that the pro line don't take a sim, it'd be great if they did though.
  • The Surface is both a Laptop and a Tablet, it doesn't make sense basing the decision not to include a SIM on just Laptops...
  • All Enterprise-grade laptops and tablets have a SIM slot and my HP Elitebook also has one. Though I've rarely used it because wherever I go, I have WiFi to use. I'm planning on getting a Surface Pro 4 and would love the idea of a SIM slot as well :)
  • I use my SP3 almost daily through mobile hotspot with my 930. Great thing is I have 4G access anywhere and i dont pay the additional costs of putting a sim tray/radios etc into the SP3.
  • This would be so awesome!!
  • This is very interesting
  • The way I read the article, it says you'll be able to purchase prepaid plans from Mobile carriers, offering those plans. It's not a Microsoft cellular service they're selling. So you'll be paying AT&T or T-Mobile, etc. for the service not MS. And you'd be able to change carriers' whenever your prepaid plan runs out. You'll have to buy the SIM card and the app from MS, which shouldn't cost much at all. I see this as the new trend of cell phone vendors trying to sell their devices to consumers out right, so you won't get a discounted phone by purchasing a new 2 yr plan anymore. Rather paying full price for a WP, iPhone or Samsung, and choosing your plan and carrier as needed and convenient for you. Which should hopefully make the Cellular Carriers much more competitive. We shall see...
  • this
  • Ahh, that makes a lot more sense.
  • I was confused, but after reading this comment, it seems to make since now...thanks.
  • Exactly. It is similar to walking into Radio Shack and buying your phone of choice with mobile coverage provided by one of the carriers.
  • I don't get it, explain pls
  • Agree, that's what I thought too.
  • Good news
  • oh yes please, ANYTHING to GET RID of carriers FOREVER, sign me up
  • Except ms is an mnvo by this understanding
  • I can't imagine it will work. They're are so many prepaid cellular options already on the market. And with no contact how will mobile cellular companies maintain themselves? It will be a market in turmoil for the best and lowest bigger. Wil they're be enough finance left to maintain services and maintenance of the wireless towers and stations?. It had to be financed somehow. Microsoft will most likely all for a hefty service contract. The prepaid plan of choice may then be cheap but jumping on board the Microsoft cellular bandwagon could be an expensive entry.I think I it will only be a viable option for a certain market of business. ​
  • Its not your problem so dont burden youself
  • These kind of things have been running for years in the EU. The mobile companies still make vast profits.
  • ...And its thanks to profits that we now have LTE and are even going to get 5G and even more masts for better local and global coverage. Those costs millions too.
  • MS = $. $=buying power. Buying power means you can buy or buy into existing MVNO's. I can see MS buying Straight Talk and acquire a large user base that can accomodate all the major carriers. In that context, it would succeed.
  • This idea seems cool.
  • Veeeeeery interesting!
  • good luck MS
  • I like that secured high data connection. For a country that is being played by few networks and is monopolizing and controlling data for a limited time. Please save Philippines, don't put expiration to data consumables....
  • I think they should do something about carrier billing in India. It's only available with idea, infact it should be available with AIRTEL and Vodafone which are the largest service provider of the country this will obviously increase the revenue of the store in India by atleast twice
  • Hopefully it will come down to Australia too. We still have a high use of Cellular (Mobile) Data down here as there aren't as many free WiFi options in most places. A lot get 4G iPads for mobile emails. Microsoft need to release LTE Tablets (and their new SIMs)  on day one, not 8 months later.      
  • Seems to only be for PCs, not for phones. Too bad, I had fantasies of ditching my carrier and getting a prepaid voice plan with this data plan for my dual SIM phone dancing in my head.
  • Without pricing and other details, this is a weak tease. 
  • bring this to canada and i can drop the phone and go to data.
  • Liking where this is going.....
  • as usual, [US only]™ ?
  • too sad to be true
  • They are blinded by market potential and not looking at market share. Oh well, MS is always late to the table in my country.
  • No, US, UK and France only...but should expand soon to other countries aswell.
  • Soon™? Really? :P
  • It isn't actually, the article says it is available in the US, UK and France.
  • Another useless thing Microsoft has apparently time to so. Yet W10M is still a disaster.
  • Not useless at all...more icing on the cake. This is something big!
  • Very cool idea!
  • Did we not learn anything from Kingsmen?..... Lol (yes I know it isn't free)
  • Why not India!??? :(
  • Lol
  • India is dual-sim market.
  • What? No. I haven't seen a single person with two simd
  • They'd better make this worldwide. Too good.
  • Indeed
  • In India Microsoft Sim network is not available will Microsoft sim service available in India....??
  • In India too?
  • When in India?
  • Lol
  • Only France, UK, USA...
  • Germany ?
  • I am waiting for Microsoft white-space investment to be deployed Posted via Spaceship One
  • Soft-SIM would have been cool for that
  • Is this available in India or US only.
  • Soon....
  • I can't wait for phone manufacturers to create a phone that will store data from wifi for later use.
  • What are you on about?!
    That literally makes no sense.
  • When on free wifi it will download the internet for offline use :)
  • That would... Be....awesome. Just the idea of it all
  • I like potatoes.
  • Soon, in some markets.
  • This is what you call a 'Disruptor Move'. Hopefully it will shake up the market in the UK, but the proof will be in the pudding, when signal coverage is checked. It all depends on which network they 'Piggy back on?'.
  • The UK already has a vibrant/cheap mobile network.
    As an example;
    Asda Mobile (running on EE) - 1,000 minutes, unlimited texts, 2GB of tetherable data - £10 per month with no ongoing contract.
    That seems like brilliant value to me!?!
  • Valentine gonna love this
  • This excites me.  My country needs this.  The ISPs here have too much control and too poor service. I also think that this will be a boon to continuum ready phones everywhere.     
  • This is awesome! So much better than getting locked into another contract.
  • Remember Kingsman guys?
  • I think of great uses for this when traveling with coverage issues. If only CDMA bands were available with the 950xl.
  • Help me understand this...does this mean that a verizon customer could use a Lumia 950?
  • Just put the sim on the motherboard
  • Now good Skype and let me make VoIP calls and send text.v that's all it takes... Oh, and let me import my Google voice number.
  • A preparation for the king. All hail Surface Phone!
  • Am i the only one who doesnt understand how this will work
  • General Motors now offers SIM\LTE connectivity in their vehicles. So the concept of LTE\Service being purchased through the hardware manufacturer is the future. By the way, I think General Motors is late with this though. Hotspotting with a SIM in the dashboard is redundant these days. A car full of passengers is likely to have multiple potential Hotspots on board already. :)
  • I live in a mountains area and only with one provider. Do I get good reception with so it would depend for me who was offering the service.
  • Well, but how to purchase the top up if you ran out of credit? The store only works if you have internet neh?
  • So basically this will let you pay for cellphone coverage using your Windows account instead of using your telco? ​I'd like this, actually. One simple problem with having a Windows Phone is that many telcos don't offer an app on Windows to manage top-ups and data. No telco in New Zealand has done this yet. Drives me nuts.
  • Can't wait lets see how or if this changes anything.