AT&T is only US carrier planning to sell Microsoft's latest phones

Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint are expected pass on the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL in the United States.

Only AT&T plans to sell the Lumia 950 in the US. Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft will only have AT&T to lean on in the US when it comes to its new flagship smartphones.

Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint have no intention to sell either the Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL, according to people familiar with the carriers' plans. AT&T said on Tuesday that it would offer the Lumia 950, but hasn't commented on the Lumia 950 XL.

The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL represent the first flagship Windows-powered smartphones in more than a year and a half, as well as the first marquee products under Microsoft, which acquired Nokia's devices business last year. The phones are the Redmond, Washington, software giant's latest attempt to keep Windows relevant in the smartphone world.

A launch on multiple carriers would have offered wider distribution and a chance to introduce the Lumia phones to more consumers. Instead, Microsoft will concentrate its efforts on a partnership with AT&T.

Microsoft said on Tuesday that its deal with AT&T isn't exclusive, opening the door for other carriers to sell one of the two smartphones. The company also said that it has been talking to the other US carriers. But none of the others are biting.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeted late Wednesday that T-Mobile didn't turn down the Windows smartphones, but that Microsoft offered it to AT&T.

"If Microsoft wakes up, we'll talk about T-Mobile carrying," he tweeted.

Microsoft does plan to work with AT&T to build "connected table" displays at the carrier stores to show off how its Lumia phones can connect with Windows-powered PCs and the Surface Pro tablets, according to Tuula Rytila, who runs phone marketing for Microsoft.

"Partnering with AT&T is executing on that focus (on areas where Microsoft believes it can win) and we're very happy to work them," she said in an interview.

In the US, the Lumia smartphones have typically launched on a single carrier, tied by an exclusive deal. But over the past few years, rivals such as Apple, Samsung, LG and HTC have opted to sell its smartphones across multiple US carriers.

Microsoft will also offer the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL as an unlocked smartphone that will be able to run on AT&T or T-Mobile.

Updated at 7:17 a.m. PT on October 8:To include a tweet from the T-Mobile CEO.


This article also appears in Spanish. Read: AT&T es la única operadora en EE.UU. que planea vender los Lumia 950 y 950 XL

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