Shortly after Microsoft’s big October launch event, AT&T announced that it will carry the Lumia 950. Later on, a CNet report hinted that T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon may have turned down Microsoft’s offer to carry the new Lumia 950 and 950XL. However, T-Mobile has since contradicted the report and expressed interest in the phones.
T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere denounced rumors that the Uncarrier had turned down the new Windows phones, saying that he’d been led to believe that Microsoft and AT&T had an exclusive deal on the Lumia 950 and 950XL. He added that T-Mobile is willing to talk with Microsoft about carrying the phones.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 8, 2015
Microsoft told Digital Trends that it is in talks with other carriers to get the Lumia 950 and 950XL on as many networks as possible. However, Verizon and Sprint have yet to make any announcements.
The Lumia 950 and 950 XL were set to be Microsoft’s big splash after taking a leave of absence from the mobile development scene. Unfortunately for the computing giant, carriers haven’t exactly been lining up to support the Windows 10 flagship phones.
At this point, the only major carrier in the U.S. to pick up Microsoft’s most recent handset is AT&T. Even in the case of AT&T, the company will only take on the Lumia 950, not its super-sized partner.
While netting the second largest mobile service provider in the country is nothing to be ashamed of, it still leaves Microsoft well behind the massive distribution its competition has. All the flagships from competitors like the iPhone 6S, Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, and HTC One M9 are available on all four major U.S. carriers and several smaller ones besides. If Microsoft fails to get the Lumia 950 and 950XL on more networks, it’s destined to reach a much more limited audience, which will not help improve the position of Windows Phone in the market.
According to the most recent report from the International Data Corporation, Android and iOS devices combine for a whopping 96.7 percent of the mobile market. Microsoft occupies a minuscule 2.6 percent of the market pie, enough to keep it out of BlackBerry and “other” territory but still barely a blip on the radar. This isn’t the start Microsoft hoped to have for its first attempt at launching a flagship phone since acquiring Nokia’s mobile business last year.
However, the possibility remains that the other major carriers will step in and pick up the handsets sometime in the future. It remains to be seen whether the carriers’ customers follow suit and pick up the phones or just let them gather dust on the shelves.