A new Cellular data app for PCs has appeared in the Windows Store marketplace, according to a report in WinBeta. The free app enables owners of Windows 10 devices to sign up for cellular connectivity and pay for the service using a Microsoft account without committing to a long-term contract.
"This is the easiest way to get online using a trusted nationwide network. Purchase a plan via Windows Store anywhere network coverage is available," reads the app's description of Microsoft's online storefront, which is also notable for the mention of an unreleased piece of hardware.
"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," states the Windows Store listing.
Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.
Devices will be able to select from a range of domestic plans by clicking on the WiFi icon that appears in the Windows taskbar and selecting the network labeled Cellular data. Users are then instructed to select a plan in their mobile settings. International roaming offers are in the works.
Meanwhile, WinBeta also spotted a Jan. 4 press release from Transatel, a French mobile virtual network operator, that explicitly states that the Microsoft SIM will use the company's technology.
Transatel's 901 SIM card technology "utilizes an international MNC (Mobile Network Code) to enable multi-local connectivity," explained the company in a press release. "SIM 901 is non-geographic and therefore provides 3G/4G-LTE connectivity in multiple countries at local conditions. With this SIM card, device manufacturers and OEMs can provide seamless internet connectivity in multiple markets, and end users can enjoy being online whenever and wherever within the same environment."
Offering a clue as to the scope of Microsoft's ambitions, Transatel said the SIM card works in 38 countries, a number that is expected to rise to 50 by the end of the first quarter of 2016. "Laptops and tablets equipped with Windows 10, a cellular broadband modem, and a Microsoft SIM Card utilizing Transatel's 901 technology, will allow consumers to easily and conveniently purchase pre-paid 3G/4G-LTE data services that will enable a breadth of Windows 10 features and services when on the go," stated the company.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President Eric Lockard said in a statement that his company wants "to promote the adoption of cellular connectivity on Windows tablets and laptops to complement classic WiFi connectivity and make it easier for consumers to connect to the Internet, anywhere, anytime." "The Transatel SIM 901 solution helps us reach this objective in multiple markets through a single interface."
Convenience and user-friendliness are also motivating factors. "In just a few clicks, consumers will be able to easily buy pre-paid data plans on supported Windows 10 devices," continued Lockard.