Getting a computer connected to a mobile data plan can be a major hassle for consumers, who have to compare deals and work out which carrier offers the best bundles. If Microsoft has its way, however, it may soon become easier than ever. A new app discovered on the Windows Store Thursday promises to connect users up to the internet on-the-go, using only a Microsoft SIM card and user account.
If it works seamlessly, it could be a game-changer for the mobile data market. A user who unexpectedly finds themselves without WiFi signal would be able to quickly buy a plan using one set of credentials, an attractive prospect for those who need to get online in a flash.
"Connect with – and pay for – a mobile data plan on your Windows 10 device using only your Microsoft account information. That means no fixed contract and no long term commitments to a mobile network operator," the description reads. "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."
This is the first public reference to a "Microsoft SIM card" the company has made, fueling speculation that Redmond is gearing up to launch an all-new mobile data system. It is not clear how exactly this would work, but it does not necessarily mean Microsoft is planning to launch its own carrier.
Apple produces own-brand SIM cards for the iPad Air 2, which allow users to buy data bundles from a selection of established carriers using an on-screen interface. In the U.S., the Apple SIM works with data bundles from AT&T, T-Mobile, GigSky and Sprint.