Amazon reportedly negotiating with US carriers to launch MVNO

Jeff Bezos.jpg

Verizon, T Mobile and DISH have all been in talks with tech giant Amazon for weeks, as it explores launching wireless services for Prime Subscribers.

A report from Bloomberg on Friday 2nd May indicated that Amazon was interested in increasing retention rates and loyalty towards its Prime subscription by launching an MOBILE VIRTUAL NETWORK OPERATOR (MVNO).

The report suggested that the service could be offered for as little as $10 a month for an unlimited package, or it could even be given away for free.

Reportedly, AT&T had also been discussing the move with Amazon but are no longer involved.

The report had a significant impact on the US carriers share prices on Friday as the big three all suffered declines of between 5-7%. Dish’s share price rose 9%, however.

A move into the wireless space for Amazon would likely squeeze the prices that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile could charge.

For example, an unlimited plan directly with either of the three MNOs would set a customer back an average of $65 a month. Meanwhile a prime membership works out at $14.99 a month or $139 a year.

For Dish however, a deal with Amazon could be a lifeline for the struggling operator. Despite growing its subscriber base by 400,000 people with its acquisitions of Republic Wireless and Ting Mobile, the company has still lost 1.4 million subscribers since it entered the wireless space with its acquisition of T-Mobile’s Boost MVNO in 2020.

Amazon’s does not release the number of prime subscribers it has with any regularity, but Jeff Bezos revealed the number topped 200 million in 2021. Estimates from industry observers suggest that approximately 168 million of these are in the US, which would significantly boost Dish’s retail exposure.