Microsoft's Surface 2 with LTE to debut on AT&T, Vodafone

Microsoft's Surface 2 with LTE to debut on AT&T, Vodafone

Summary: Microsoft's first LTE-enabled Surface 2 tablets will debut on AT&T and Vodafone.


Microsoft officials committed last week to providing an ARM-based Surface 2 tablet with LTE wireless connectivity in early 2014. This week, Surface execs disclosed that the Surface 2 with LTE would debut on AT&T and Vodafone first.


A number of current and potential Surface users have been requesting an LTE Surface. Last year, Microsoft officials said that the company's telemetry data showed that the majority of potential tablet purchasers didn't want or need LTE.

As GeekWire noted, Microsoft's Surface chief Panos Panay told attendees of a Microsoft Surface promotional event at a Microsoft Store in Seattle more details on the LTE Surface. Panay also said there won't be an Intel-based Surface Pro 2 with LTE (though it's not entirely clear if that means there never will be any Intel-based Surface with LTE).

Microsoft is working on a Surface Mini with a screen size somewhere between 7 and 8 inches, and according to my sources, it will launch in the spring of 2014. The Surface Mini will be ARM-based from what I've heard from my contacts. (Qualcomm is the expected processor, rather than the NVIDIA chip that powers the ARM-based Surface 2.)

I'm wondering whether the Surface Mini is also going to be LTE-enabled or Wi-Fi only. No word on that (so far) from my sources.

Speaking of Surfaces, Microsoft showed off some interesting enteprise Surface peripherals in a new video, as noted by Neowin, including some point-of-sale attachments and a charging cart for multiple Surfaces. 

Topics: Networking, Mobility, Tablets, AT&T, PCs, Wi-Fi, Microsoft Surface


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Enterprise vs. Consumers

    Microsoft knows how to market to enterprises. It's a shame they don't know how to market to consumers. Maybe they can turn that part over to the new Nokia staff.
    • How does the Surface team miss the boat again?

      No mini for the holidays? And this whole arm thing should just be a short term plan. The next generation of both rt and pro should both be running Intel inside. Working with Intels next gen socs they should be able to get better battery life from intel and arm crushing perf at the same time. That makes it a winner even where you don't need desktop compat. Once they acquire Nokia their phones should do the same.
      Johnny Vegas
      • Microsoft's Surface strategy...

        I think Microsoft has decided to make Surface a "premium" product with a premium price, and therefore have accepted that it will probably never be a huge seller. I think they're doing this to leave room for their OEMs to make a profit. How else do we explain the (still) relatively high prices for the new Surfaces?

        If someone wants a "signature" Windows device, then they'll have an option--a Surface--but they're going to have to pay for it. That's my theory anyway...
        • exactly

          Same as my.theory;-)
        • Agreed

          By positioning the Surface devices as premium brand, it should ensure there is always a decent representation from the Windows family when a group test is conducted.

          I've also begun to wonder if in the fullness of time whether Surface becomes more a Pro/Enterprise ultrabook product and the Nokia devices (including the soon-to-be-released RT tablet) more for consumers.
        • Waiting on the LTE version...

          I already own a Surface RT... but I always wished it had LTE so I could use it on my downtime at work. Soon... I'll be able to! So I'll definitely be buying a Surface LTE whenever they come out. :)
      • Intel?

        Can a phone be built with Intel and maintain all the levels of performance found in a Snapdragon including battery life?
  • I have..

    a Lumia 920, Iphone 4S and a Surface Pro and I have no clue what "LTE" means LOL :)
    • lol...geeky

      It simple words, mobile phone type connection
    • LTE stands for "Long Term Evolution"

      It's the goofy name for the latest cellular data connection standard (which tends to get marketed as "4G LTE"). It's expected to last a while (hence the "long term" in its name).
  • Too bad

    Too bad there won't be a Surface Pro 2 with LTE. I would definitely purchase one, but I have no need for an LTE Surface 2. My iPad serves the same purpose. Oh well. It looks like I'll be waiting for the third generation Surface Pro.
    • why wait for LTE devices?

      Just use your LTE phone as a WiFi hotspot. Works fine with Surface Pro as well as iPad, laptop, etc. Also saves adding a device to your data plan, so you save money on both the device and LTE bills.
      diane wilson
      • Very inconvenient

        Tethering is less convenient and just as expensive as adding a tablet to my mobile plan. I've had Verizon 3G on my iPad since 2011 and absolutely love it. If I'm going to buy a tablet, especially one the price of a Surface Pro 2, it had better support mobile broadband.
        • You need a new phone and service

          On a Android phone you can set a toggle widget on your home screen that turn on/off hotspot. Paid $250 for the phone and $45 a month for voice/data.
          Rann Xeroxx
        • Use Your LTE Phone as Hotspot

          I use my Win 8 Lumia 920 from AT&T as the Hotspot. I then am able to connect up to 6 devices, my Surface Pro, my 17" ASUS laptop, 2 iPads, and a Kindle. Data plans vary at about 10 dollars per gig. If you go over it's $15/gig. Not as fast as Wifi but very convenient.
    • Most ultrabooks lack LTE connectivity.

      Only business machines have them, due to the requirement of an mSATA slot.

      You can blame Intel and AMD for that.
  • Excellent!

    A Surface 2 with LTE will make a great companion device.

    Sorry Apple. iPad is no longer the king of the hill.

    I always knew that Microsoft will come up with an appropriate answer to Apple's iPad. Delta Airlines is just the beginning.

    I never knew or understood the fuss about BYOD. But I definitely have been part of the BYOA movement for the last 40 years in the industry if Apple knows what I mean.
    • I like Surface but...

      I think Microsoft will always be the niche player in the tablet market. Android has more of a chance of knocking iPad off the hill than W8.
      Rann Xeroxx
      • Well

        Once the cheaper Windows 8.1 tablets show up, probably enterprises would go into that route and any chances that iPads and Android tablets getting into enterprises would be minimized.
        Ram U
        • @ Ram U


          An 8" Windows or Windows RT tablet should be more than enough to satisfy MDM and mobility needs in the enterprise.

          I would think Android has much less of a chance after arrival of Surface 2 or Surface Mini. Samsung blew it when it had an opening for more than 3 years.