The handset will go on sale unsubsidized for $150, and will be paired with T-Mobile’s $30 per month unlimited data and text plan, which of course is a commitment-free offering given that the handset has been purchased outright.
"There is an opportunity for us to offer a very high quality device in the mainstream," said Terry Myerson, head of the Windows Phone unit, at Microsoft’s campus near Seattle last week. "That’s where we’ve made progress in the last couple of months and it’s a strategy we’ll continue to explore in the United States."
The price compares well to the iPhone 5, which costs 579.99 spread over 24 months, more than 3 times more expensive.
Terry noted that Windows Phone did well when the actual unsubsidized cost of a phone was exposed by carriers.
"AT&T and Verizon have been great partners," said Myerson. "But where the market dynamics are different, and where the operators play a different role, we have done better."
Microsoft however promised to compete on more than price, with Myerson saying next task for Windows phones is to leverage Microsoft’s Office and Xbox products to make a genuinely new phone experience, whether as a work tool or advanced toy.
"I don’t think we’ve come near to the full potential. Those are our two dimensions here, Office and Xbox. We want to bring to life getting work done and bring to life that serious fun, here on this thing in your pocket. That’s going to develop over time."