WP7: What are the carriers up to?

Windows Phone 7 is, likely, just over a month away from hitting the store shelves in Europe and just over two months away from seeing the light of day in the States . We've seen manufacturer devices, app development, and (obviously) development of the OS itself over the past several months.

The one thing we haven't seen much from is the wireless providers. Who's getting what and how much is going to cost us when it gets there? While the "how much" is well in the shadows right now, we do have some idea on the "who" with respect to wireless providers. Here's how we see it breaking down.

AT&T: Billed as one of the "premiere launch partners", AT&T appears to be in a position to offer the largest selection of Windows Phone 7 devices. We've heard rumors of HTC (T8788 or HD7?), Samsung (Cetus), and LG (C900 and GW910) devices headed to AT&T. Our count shows as many as four Windows Phone 7 devices hitting AT&T's shelves this Fall.  Unless something changes over the next two months, AT&T will be at the forefront of Windows Phone 7.

T-Mobile: We are confident that T-Mobile will have a Windows Phone 7 device on the shelf at some point and the HTC Schubert has been quietly rumored to be that device. 

Verizon: Verizon and Microsoft may not be on good speaking terms these days after the KIN adventure. Rumors are that Verizon is simply not interested in Windows Phone 7 and a leaked "end of life" report has Verizon removing any existing Windows Phones from their line-up by March of 2011. Coupled with the signs that Verizon doesn't have any Windows Phones on their2010/2011 product road map, we won't be shocked if Verizon shifts their smartphone focus from Windows Phones to Android or Blackberry.

Sprint:  Listed as a launch partner when Windows Phone 7 was announced back in February (but that was a non-binding agreement), Sprint could go either way with Windows Phone 7.  They could keep everything under wraps and surprise everyone with a Windows Phone 7 or simply taking a "wait and see" approach (as they did with Android). Fared Adib, Sprint's Vice President of Product Development did say back in February, "Sprint and Microsoft have had a 15-year-plus relationship together. And we believe that the Windows Phone 7 Series will continue that relationship into a new decade." Our guess, Sprint will let Microsoft work out the kinks with Windows Phone 7 and eventually have a Windows Phone 7 device in their line up.  Maybe the Dell Streak Lightning?

Granted all this is speculation and the carriers still have plenty of time to throw in a few twists before Windows Phone 7 hits the shelves. 

We still have the nagging questions of "when will the carriers get these phones?" and "how much will they cost?". The OS was just released to manufacturers and best guess is still seeing mid-to-early November for availability. Pricing points are still anyone's guess. 

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Good thing i'm not totally dependent on a carrier, just need Dell to release the Lightning and the carriers can go jump.
  • This is pretty disappointing as I am on Sprint and will not switch carriers just for a phone. I really hope we will see Sprint showing some devices at launch. Heck, not one of the leaked devices we have seen so far is CDMA, makes me worry.
  • Sprint might not show up right away but they should get some WP7 phones at some point. Though we could be in for a surprise, still lots of time till devices come out.
  • I certainly hope verizon jumps in too. I can wait til January since that's when my contract is up but I'd love a Dell Lightning or the HD7 on Verizon. Sorry Phil I won't jump to the "Droid" or BB even with their new OS'.
  • I am with you, no Android or BB for me. I am going from my BB Tour (worst phone ever made). I am not sure I'd want a Dell phone, but yes please on the HD7. I am sure that device will be amazing, would be great if they made a CDMA version!
  • I've been with verizon since the mid nineties... I've stuck by them even when they had crappy WM lineup.... The network is great. However I want a WP7 device at the get go Oct/Nov release and my wife's blackberry tour is total %^#T. I don't give a rats @ss about Verizon + MS politics. If they don't get a strong high-end WP7 device..I'm done, my families done and so are many folks around the IT industry in DC that are WM users.... Spread the word... Take care of your customers Verizon and show them the respect they deserve!
  • Dude stfu i live in the DC area to and WM is about as rare to find as a four leaf clover is in downtown DC. i sure as hell dont blame them for keeping their distance until wm7 proves itself after all verizon went out on a big limb for that crappy @ss kin series.
  • Fail. I'm pretty sure you made the same comment about KIN in another post and I put to question Verizon's actual effort towards helping it. I'll point it out again. I've only seen one KIN commercial and it lacked Verizon branding, indicating they probably didn't put much money into the ads if any. Additionally, unlike what T-Mobile did for the Sidekick series, Verizon decided to require the full smartphone data plan. "Out on a big limb?" Hardly.
  • All I know, Sprint better offer WP7 devices this holiday season.
  • i'd love to see WP7 phones sprinkled across all carriers, but no recent smartphone platform has simultaneously launched on more than one carrier. iPhone launched on AT&T where it's still exclusive. Android launched with the G1/Dream on T-Mobile. And webOS launched on Sprint with the Palm Pre. With the exception of the iPhone these platforms later saw release on other carriers. i'm sure the same will happen with WP7 over time. What i hope is that AT&T makes a strong case for WP7 to the consumer as Verizon did with Android. i don't think it'll happen, partially because a lot of the success with the Droid brand had to do with people who wanted an iPhone or something similarly capable, but weren't willing to switch to AT&T.
  • MS needs one killer devices to be a success on ONE carrier for the other ones to start playing catch up. It's only a question of demand.
  • Just waiting for the reviews on WP7, then I either stay with Verizon and go Android or leave Verizon for WP7... although no way am I going to ATT.
  • Seems like you completely ignored my post. I went to an Aurora, Colorado Verizon store, and the repersentative there said that VERIZON IS GOING TO GET A WINDOWS PHONE 7 DEVICE BY THE END OF THE YEAR!!!!!
  • Seems like you completely ignored my post. I went to an Aurora, Colorado Verizon store, and the repersentative there said that VERIZON IS GOING TO GET A WINDOWS PHONE 7 DEVICE BY THE END OF THE YEAR!!!!!
  • Store representatives are very rarely reliable sources.
  • Sorry trying not to spam you guys but they told me that and I've been giving this tip to every news site I can think of and they all have seemed to ignore me so I thought that I'd post multiple times to try and get some attention. Guess not.
  • When I read about all those issues regarding phones on single carriers I'm very glad that at least our german operators started to seperate between subscription and hardware. So the monthly fee doesn't include any hidden sponsoring of hardware devices and the contract periods are as low as half a year. You just buy the device and use it as long as you like. As we only have GSM networks you can combine any device with any operator. Of course there are also bundles of 24 month contracts and devices but in general you loose more flexibility than what you save on the financial aspect.
  • I hope Sprint doesn't take too long. I despise my Sprint Touch Pro.
  • Microsoft Must Start Advertising NOW....with coming soon adds.
    I wnet to 3 Sprint stores this weekend and ask if the windows phone 7 was coming and every store did not know what a windows phone was and told me that windows phone was not any good, which tells me that they think its windows mobile ....
    I think the TV Adds should be happening now so in 1 or 2 months wint the phone is reddy people will know what a windows phone is ....
    and Microsoft should have not just stopped working on windows mobile with any feedback to the vendors.people should know that windows mobile does not stink its just end of life and they have not really worked on windows mobile for 2 years
  • Anyone know how to let Sprint know we want Win Phone 7?
    Customer Service?
    Should we start a call-in / write-in campaign? I dislike AT&T due to the iphone and the poor network reputation but I might have to give them some money to get a Win Phone asap.
  • Any ideas what the Canadian carriers are planning?
  • I would like Verizon to offer Windows Phone 7 devices for their customers, but they have proven to have a tin ear with regards to customer desires. Therefore, I am prepared to hold onto my Touch Pro 2 as long as it works or until it is clear that Verizon will or will not sell Windows Phone 7 phones.