Microsoft: No CDMA Windows Phone 7 devices until 2011

Microsoft said on Thursday that when Windows Phone 7 devices hit the shelves later this year, there will be no CDMA verions until 2011.

Microsoft Senior product manager Greg Sullivan told CNET news that the company had to make some trade-offs. "Even Microsoft doesn't have unlimited resources. We had to prioritize doing fewer things, really, really well", Sullivan said. The software giant made an active choice earlier in the year to delay CDMA versions of Windows Phone 7 but confirmed the decision on Thursday.

"For the worldwide market, the vast majority of phones are GSM phones, so we focused on GSM first and then plan to deliver an update that will have great CDMA support in the first half of 2011," Sullivan said. What does this mean for Windows Phone 7? Well those who were hoping they could pick up a Sprint or Verizon Windows Phone 7 device this Christmas are out of luck. The public acknowledgement of no CDMA support came on a day the company announced its plans for YouTube and Twitter support on Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft also announced the final development tools for Windows Phone 7 on Thursday. The tools allow developers to create Windows Phone 7 applications which can be submitted to the Windows Phone marketplace when it opens in early October. Microsoft has still not confirmed when GSM devices will be available in the U.S. or worldwide. The company will hold an open house event in New York City on October 11 where company officials are expected to detail worldwide launch plans.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

RIM growth breaks analyst predictions and records, don't look at Torch

Next Story

Notebook sales negative, but is iPad to blame?

50 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I'm on T-Mobile.......so I don't care. If I were on Verizon or Sprint I'd be a little miffed (even though I understand why they're doing this).

Besides, it's not like 2011 is all that far off (in respect to the launch of WP7 in late October).

Frazell Thomas said,
Microsoft is playing fast and loose here. If a CDMA iPhone drops before their launch they are going to have some sour grapes.

CDMA is US only and the USA is only a small part of the world...Eurasia is the (much) bigger market.

Strange considering Windows Mobile supports CDMA fully...
Anyways, the article is misleading. They are liberally referring to UMTS as "GSM." While there are some aspects of UMTS network cores that are compatible with GSM/GPRS/EDGE, it is not GSM nor is it compatible. The only reason people think UMTS is GSM is because most UMTS phones include GSM support.

I really want to stay on Sprint, but right now I hear Tmobile calling soooo loudly! I can't wait for another 6months to upgrade a phone that's already nearly 16months overdue :\ .

This was quite a disappointment for me. Here I thought it was great that my Sprint contract was wrapping up in November. Ah well. I mean, if I *desperately* wanted it, the cost difference isn't that significant (if you aren't getting a 15% discount on at&t, you're doing it wrong), but yuck. It's quite a race to mediocrity when it comes to which happens first: Sprint getting over WiMax, or at&t actually launching an expanded network (let alone a 4G one).

Here's to a fun holiday season.

I guess the one positive is we'll let them work out the kinks on the GSM devices and then receive a better product on CDMA.

WTF!!!! Ive been waiting for WP7 so patiently then this? argggggggggggggg...very displeased at the moment. Ill never go to AT&T, they suck balls, especially if you dont live in a big city (like the majority of my family).

CDMA is much better technology when it comes to call quality. I dont remember the last time I dropped a call in the 12 years Ive been with US Cellular (which is all CDMA). Not true when I ask my friends on AT&T. To me, a phone is a phone first, gadget second. If I cant make a call its worthless.

I've got an idea, lets just ditch CDMA altogether! You wouldn't tolerate a car that couldn't drive on certain roads, so why tolerate a phone that ties you to only a few networks?!

Majesticmerc said,
I've got an idea, lets just ditch CDMA altogether! You wouldn't tolerate a car that couldn't drive on certain roads, so why tolerate a phone that ties you to only a few networks?!

Well exactly, all it shows really is that there are a lot of Americans who don't care if their phone works outside the US. Obviously they wouldn't get away with that in Europe.

Majesticmerc said,
I've got an idea, lets just ditch CDMA altogether! You wouldn't tolerate a car that couldn't drive on certain roads, so why tolerate a phone that ties you to only a few networks?!

Except, you know, Verizon and Sprint are HUGE in the US, and frankly, I really could care less if my phone works overseas or not, with roaming costs the way they are, I'd rather just get a dinky little prepaid Nokia phone for my use there.

LiquidSolstice said,

Except, you know, Verizon and Sprint are HUGE in the US, and frankly, I really could care less if my phone works overseas or not, with roaming costs the way they are, I'd rather just get a dinky little prepaid Nokia phone for my use there.

I'm sure you mean "You COULDN'T care less", but wouldn't it just be easier for everyone to use the same phone whatever network they're on? I could, right now, call my phone provider in the UK (T-Mobile in my case), tell them that they suck, and then go to ANY other provider in the UK, get my number transferred over, sign a new contract with them, and be on my way without having to worry even slightly that my phone wouldn't work, because they all use GSM, and not CDMA. Over the pond, you're tied to Verizon and Sprint if you have a CDMA phone, and if you wanted to go with a provider that wasn't Verizon or Sprint, you'd have to buy a new phone.

On top of that, if phone manufacturers didn't have to make two versions of every phone (a CDMA version and a GSM version), prices would come down.

My point is that it makes ZERO sense to have a CDMA network alongside a GSM network. The majority of the world has chosen GSM, and continuing to use CDMA should be considered anti-competitive IMO because it restricts user choice (i.e. the choice to move to another network).

LiquidSolstice said,

Except, you know, Verizon and Sprint are HUGE in the US, and frankly, I really could care less if my phone works overseas or not, with roaming costs the way they are, I'd rather just get a dinky little prepaid Nokia phone for my use there.


Well you see with GSM, you can just switch out the simcard without a problem No need for roaming fees. And well pretty much in most of the countries around the world, phones are never ever sold locked.

Majesticmerc said,

I'm sure you mean "You COULDN'T care less", but wouldn't it just be easier for everyone to use the same phone whatever network they're on? I could, right now, call my phone provider in the UK (T-Mobile in my case), tell them that they suck, and then go to ANY other provider in the UK, get my number transferred over, sign a new contract with them, and be on my way without having to worry even slightly that my phone wouldn't work, because they all use GSM, and not CDMA. Over the pond, you're tied to Verizon and Sprint if you have a CDMA phone, and if you wanted to go with a provider that wasn't Verizon or Sprint, you'd have to buy a new phone.

On top of that, if phone manufacturers didn't have to make two versions of every phone (a CDMA version and a GSM version), prices would come down.

My point is that it makes ZERO sense to have a CDMA network alongside a GSM network. The majority of the world has chosen GSM, and continuing to use CDMA should be considered anti-competitive IMO because it restricts user choice (i.e. the choice to move to another network).

Except that only outside the US (with smaller distances between national borders) is there reason for a single technology to prevail among multiple countries. GSM makes sense for smaller *regional* carriers (the only reason AT&T Mobility is GSM-based is because it's a hodgepodge of multiple GSM-based networks, as opposed to being built out all of a piece); even in Canada (which is larger in physical area than the US), not one of the GSM carriers covers the whole country.
And there's a reason *why* phones are sold unlocked elsewhere - most of these same countries prohibit subsidization of handsets by carriers (hence the resultant difference in upfront handset costs in Europe vs. the United States, where handset subsidies are still permitted) largely because most of the carriers were, or are, government-owned (which would have put the government in the awkward position of having to explain subsidizing *rich-person's toy technology*, as cell phones have long been termed in Europe). That is the sting in the tail of unlocked vs. subsidized/locked phones (even GSM vs. GSM). Lastly, SIM-switching was until recently a requirement in Europe *anyway* because carrier coverage changed at national borders (the advent of the super-regional carrier in Europe was of recent invention); the equivalent in the United States would be switching SIM cards (or license plates) at state borders.

Finally, how many Americans *never* travel overseas at all? Given the sheer size of the United States, I'd say quite a few! (I've never been outside the United States; in fact, the furthest west I've ever been is Nevada.) If I know I'll need GSM coverage *because* I'm going overseas, I'll either pick up a multiband "world phone" prior to departure (VZW has several) or pick up a GSM phone where I'm going. All Microsoft's announcement does is pretty-much cement my choice of an Android-based smartphone as I have no plans on going with any carrier other than VZW (for both coverage *and* call-quality reasons, and that's despite having used VMUSA, which is based on Sprint's network).

LOL, Verizon probably told them don't bother....we are getting the iphone in 2011, and MS figured the iphone fanboiz would be buying that, so it wouldn't be a huge sale.

You gotta love how anti-microsoft sites spinned this news like "Verizon gave a mayor blow to Microsoft by choosing not to use WP7 until 2011", because they are "sore about the Kin" stuff and other stuff. The fact is, Verizon uses CDMA, the world uses GSM, so it is the other way around.

Charles Keledjian said,
You gotta love how anti-microsoft sites spinned this news like "Verizon gave a mayor blow to Microsoft by choosing not to use WP7 until 2011", because they are "sore about the Kin" stuff and other stuff. The fact is, Verizon uses CDMA, the world uses GSM, so it is the other way around.

It wasn't exactly spin on their part. It was more spin on Verizon's part. When the news first broke, it came from Verizon and all that they said was they wouldn't carry any WP7 phones until 2011. At that point it wasn't known that MS had no CDMA WP7 phones and that Verizon's decision was completely forced by that fact.

I'm confused. I thought that MS made the software and their partners made the phone. Not a single partner is going to have a CDMA phone by launch? Seems like there are plenty of resources to make it happen.... MS and HTC must be too busy making useless note applications, err I mean super awesome.

Shadrack said,
I'm confused. I thought that MS made the software and their partners made the phone. Not a single partner is going to have a CDMA phone by launch? Seems like there are plenty of resources to make it happen.... MS and HTC must be too busy making useless note applications, err I mean super awesome.

software needs to work with CDMA, looks like right now it's only coded for GSM (just like the iPhone)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gsm_vs_cdma

Edited by reverseswing, Sep 17 2010, 3:33pm : added link

Shadrack said,
I'm confused. I thought that MS made the software and their partners made the phone. Not a single partner is going to have a CDMA phone by launch? Seems like there are plenty of resources to make it happen.... MS and HTC must be too busy making useless note applications, err I mean super awesome.
Considering the only 2 "big" providers of CDMA are Verizon and Sprint, it's not exactly high on their list lol. GSM is used pretty much everywhere in the world whereas CDMA isn't.

Go look at the Android line of HTC phones. The GSM variants come out first in Asia and Europe, and then in America, and then with CDMA. The only company that makes a CDMA android phone from the get-go is Motorola.

And well even Verizon is planning to phase out CDMA in favor for LTE, which is a GSM technology (well kindoff a mix of CDMA / GSM)

Shadrack said,
I'm confused. I thought that MS made the software and their partners made the phone. Not a single partner is going to have a CDMA phone by launch? Seems like there are plenty of resources to make it happen.... MS and HTC must be too busy making useless note applications, err I mean super awesome.
They're basically missing the drivers to speak with the hardware that CDMA needs. It won't be a huge hurdle to get that ready, but it is a necessary task that would have taken time away from other core tasks, which theoretically are more complete and done better because they had more time to do them.

Shadrack said,
I'm confused. I thought that MS made the software and their partners made the phone. Not a single partner is going to have a CDMA phone by launch? Seems like there are plenty of resources to make it happen.... MS and HTC must be too busy making useless note applications, err I mean super awesome.

I think I hear somebody complaining about the antenna on the iPhone. Quick, go defend Apple before their image is tarnished.

/- Razorfold said,
The only company that makes a CDMA android phone from the get-go is Motorola.

And that is probably because they used to be the CDMA network hardware manufacturer of both Sprint and Verizion. (Nokia bought their Network division last month)

Shadrack said,
I'm confused. I thought that MS made the software and their partners made the phone. Not a single partner is going to have a CDMA phone by launch? Seems like there are plenty of resources to make it happen.... MS and HTC must be too busy making useless note applications, err I mean super awesome.

Except the OS is useless without drivers, and MS only had enough time to write GSM drivers (to target a global release) before the holidays.

Rudy said,
What is the advantage of CDMA anyway?
Better support for multiple people using the same tower. Apparently it can juggle more connections than the current GSM.

I am not sure if this holds true compared to LTE (4G GSM).

pickypg said,
Better support for multiple people using the same tower. Apparently it can juggle more connections than the current GSM.

I am not sure if this holds true compared to LTE (4G GSM).

It doesn't LTE is a completely flat IP based structure. Given that there isn't any CDMA competition to LTE obviously GSM is now better. Verizon need to get working on installing LTE equipment.

pickypg said,
Better support for multiple people using the same tower. Apparently it can juggle more connections than the current GSM.

I am not sure if this holds true compared to LTE (4G GSM).

When they say "GSM" in regards to Windows Phone 7, are they referring to 2G GSM or are they referring to 3G GSM?

rawr_boy81 said,

When they say "GSM" in regards to Windows Phone 7, are they referring to 2G GSM or are they referring to 3G GSM?


WCDMA = UMTS = 3G

Asia has GSM, Europe has GSM and also T-Mobile and AT&T have GSM...i think MS does not care about Verizon and Sprint...why should they? Btw. iPhone is also GSM only

the CDMA restriction only applies to US now. Even in Canada, all the carriers now support GSM. So, its a good decision on MS behalf to concentrate on GSM first and bring in the CDMA devices later on. Android should see a bit boost now over christmas for its CDMA devices in the US.

d4diesel said,
the CDMA restriction only applies to US now. Even in Canada, all the carriers now support GSM. So, its a good decision on MS behalf to concentrate on GSM first and bring in the CDMA devices later on. Android should see a bit boost now over christmas for its CDMA devices in the US.

This is a good point, and MS was smart to go with getting GSM done well first since that's what most networks around the world use. You have to blame the US and it's patchwork of a cellphone system for using different systems when it really doesn't have to. It's pretty much holding back cellphone growth/sales in the US since they're always so behind Asia and the EU with new models.

ahhell said,
True...unless you are in Manitoba.

MTS will probably have their 3G up before the end of 2011, but I'm thinking that pigs'll fly before Telus bothers with it. "Soon," they say. "Soon."

This is really not a big deal - they will still be on TMobile & AT&T in the US and countless other providers across the globe even without CDMA support. As long as the phone & OS are good, I don't mind using AT&T (altho, I hope they fix their network problems).

Owen Williams said,
You can read a lovely post from Mary Jo Foley saying that "Microsoft is rewriting windows phone again" here. She doesn't get it.... http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hard...f-the-windows-phone-os/9731
That is not Mary Jo Foley writing that. The article you linked, links to author Ina Fried. Mr. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes simply cannot read English "good."

Ina Fried said,
Microsoft has opted to delay until next year the CDMA version as it works to finish work on its major rewrite of its phone operating system.

Adrian suggested that the above quote from Ina Fried means there is yet another major rewrite. He's an idiot. Ina was clearly referring to the current rewrite (although, Ina was somewhat misspeaking considering that the final release is done, which may mark Adrian's confusion).

Owen Williams said,
You can read a lovely post from Mary Jo Foley saying that "Microsoft is rewriting windows phone again" here. She doesn't get it.... http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hard...f-the-windows-phone-os/9731

Zdnet and Cnet are really pretty crap and generally not worth bothering with. MJF spends all her time drawing conclusions that are usually wrong and AKH spends all his time making unsubstantiated claims about companies he hates. TOtally worthless.

jakem1 said,

Zdnet and Cnet are really pretty crap and generally not worth bothering with. MJF spends all her time drawing conclusions that are usually wrong and AKH spends all his time making unsubstantiated claims about companies he hates. TOtally worthless.

++++100000