Fire smartphone from Amazon.com
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Amazon is in talks with several wireless carriers to launch a mobile service for Prime members, Bloomberg reports.
The news sent telecom stocks tumbling on Friday. Verizon fell more than 4% in early trading, while T-Mobile decreased by as much as 7%. AT&Tshares fell more than 5%. Shares of meals grew by more than 14%.
The electronics retailer is in talks with Verizon, T-Mobile and Dish to resell its mobile service to Prime members at a low price or potentially for free, according to Bloomberg. Discussions have been ongoing for six to eight weeks and have also included AT&T, but according to the report, it could be several more months before the plan materializes.
“We’re always looking for additional benefits for Prime members, but we don’t have any plans to add wireless at this time,” said Amazon spokesman Bradley Mattinger.
Amazon had previously experimented in the mobile category, launching its ill-fated Fire Phone in July 2014 before abandoning it a year later. More recently, it has focused on high-speed internet through its Kuiper program, which aims to build a network of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit.
The mobile plan could serve as an attractive enticement for Amazon to attract more Prime subscribers. Launched in 2005, Amazon Prime members pay $139 a year for access to free two-day shipping, access to exclusive movies and TV shows, and new benefits like general discounts on prescriptions and Grubhub delivery bonuses.
Amazon is looking for ways to attract more Prime members as it faces increasing competition WalmartWalmart+ loyalty program and concerns about slowing membership growth. As of April 2021, the company had more than 200 million subscribers worldwide.
In partnership with a company like Verizon or Dish, Amazon would essentially function as a mobile virtual network operator. Instead of owning its own wireless network, the company will buy data from major carriers and resell it to consumers.
Representatives for Verizon, T-Mobile, Dish and AT&T could not be reached for comment.