Amazon reportedly in talks to bundle mobile phone service as Prime perk

From The Verge: Amazon is reportedly considering offering mobile connectivity to its customers alongside a US Prime subscription, according to a report from Bloomberg. It’s said to have held negotiations with existing US carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, Dish, and occasionally, AT&T about using their networks to offer mobile connectivity, which would then be available to Prime subscribers either as part of their existing subscription or for a nominal $10 a month fee.

In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Bradley Mattinger denied that the company is currently actively planning to add wireless connectivity to Prime. “We are always exploring adding even more benefits for Prime members, but don’t have plans to add wireless at this time,” Mattinger said. Bloomberg notes that the plans could take months to launch and may be scrapped entirely.

News of the talks comes as Prime subscriber growth is believed to have slowed following last year’s price rise, which saw the cost of an annual Prime subscription increase from $119 to $139. Amazon is also facing 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 subscription to Paramount Plus to its subscription service last year, which competes with Amazon’s own Prime Video streaming service.

Although Amazon would be paying wireless carriers to use their networks under the plans, Bloomberg notes that partnering with the e-commerce giant could be a double-edged sword for them. If Amazon prices its wireless offering as cheaply as Bloomberg’s report suggests it will, it risks competing with carriers for their existing subscribers. Amazon has historically proven that it’s prepared to spend big for the sake of Prime subscriber growth.

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