Amazon is reportedly considering offering mobile connectivity to its customers along with a US Prime subscription, according to a report from Bloomberg. It is said to be conducting negotiations with existing US carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, Dish, and sometimes, AT&T about using their networks to offer mobile connectivity, which Primes can use. subscriber either as part of their existing subscription or for a nominal $10 a month fee.
In a statement, Amazon spokesman Bradley Mattinger denied that the company is currently actively planning to add wireless connectivity to Prime. “We’re always exploring adding more benefits for Prime members, but there are no plans to add wireless right now,” Mattinger said. Bloomberg says the plans could take months to roll out and could be scrapped entirely.
Amazon raised the price of Prime last year
News of the talks comes as Prime subscriber growth is believed to have slowed following last year’s price hike, which saw the cost of an annual Prime subscription rise from $119 to $139. Amazon also faces increased competition from the likes of Walmart Plus, a $98/year subscription service from the retailer that offers free grocery delivery on orders over $35. Walmart added a Paramount Plus subscription to its subscription service last year, which competes with Amazon’s own Prime Video streaming service.
Although Amazon will pay wireless carriers to use their networks under the plans, Bloomberg says the partnership with the e-commerce giant could be a double-edged sword for them. When Amazon prices its wireless offering it looks cheap BloombergThe report suggests that it risks competing with carriers for their existing subscribers. Amazon’s history has proven that it is willing to spend big for Prime subscriber growth.
Fellow tech giant Google already offers its own wireless network called Google Fi. Like Amazon’s rumored plans, Google Fi is what’s known as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, and runs on T-Mobile’s national network as well as a network of Wi-Fi hotspots.