Amazon phone to be an AT&T exclusive, will include 'Prime Data' plan

Amazon will finally arrive at the smartphone party this week with the launch of its first handset on Wednesday, joining its existing line-up of budget-friendly Fire tablets. One of the big questions surrounding the device has been that of how the company plans to make it available - whether by selling direct to customers via its website, or by embracing the more familiar route of sales through mobile network operators. 

It seems that the latter will form at least one part of the company's distribution plans, as The Wall Street Journal reports that AT&T will offer the handset exclusively in the United States. The report does not make clear if this will be the only way to purchase the device, or if it will also be available to purchase off-contract via Amazon.com. 

The Journal's report lines up with what BGR has heard about the device being an AT&T exclusive. It also appears to support an earlier BGR report in which details of a new 'Prime Data' plan for the device were revealed. Its sources believe that this plan will offer access to some of Amazon's services - such as Prime Instant Video and the new Prime Music streaming service - over AT&T's network free of charge, without eating into a user's existing data caps. 

Amazon will announce its new smartphone tomorrow, so we'll hopefully find out all that we need to know about the long-awaited device then. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal via BGR | image via BGR

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21 Comments

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The goal for the iphone wasn't to sell the most. It is now. It was a luxury phone and a niche market at first. Then they opened up the flood gates for money.

Maybe Amazon just wants a slice of the pie.

ccoltmanm said,
The goal for the iphone wasn't to sell the most. It is now.

When did Apple decide to change gears and make selling more phones a priority? The iPhone 3GS? The iPhone 4s? So like if only 500 people bought the original iPhone, you think Apple would have been happy? "There's our niche market, guys. We've hit our goal. Well done!" Their goal was always to sell the most phones. If you don't believe me, go take a look back at how long they've been battling Android in the courtroom. Or any one that directly competes with them for that matter.

Open Minded said,

When did Apple decide to change gears and make selling more phones a priority?

The iPhone 3G, when you could get them for $199. If you look at the sales charts over time, you can see that's when they really hit critical mass.

From a carrier perspective, I can totally see the benefit of an exclusive phone. However in the long run it only hurts the consumer and Amazon. Consumers are very resistant to switching carriers these day, its one of the reasons T-Mobile has been promoting their new system where they pay your contract for you.

Well this looks like a disaster waiting to happen. I don't know what they think they are releasing thats going to draw all them customers to join AT&T just for that specific phone.

In the global economy of 2014, Amazon making this exclusive to the US, AT&T specifically would be stupid. At&T might be the first to receive but Amazon is smarter than to make it an exclusive.

Yeah I don't see them shooting themselves in the foot like that long term. Maybe it will only be exclusive for a period of time and (eventually) also available directly via their website at an attractive price off contract. The Prime Data does sound attractive but the question I have is whether it will require separate Prime membership or maybe customers will also get Amazon Prime too? They do have the opportunity to actually create some unique services around the device. Although Google has Play music and videos, neither are exactly popular or successful. Amazon Prime video on the other hand is not so bad and Prime Music could be good if they can get the content. I guess wait and see...

Sadelwo said,
In the global economy of 2014, Amazon making this exclusive to the US, AT&T specifically would be stupid. At&T might be the first to receive but Amazon is smarter than to make it an exclusive.

Well, being an AT&T exclusive does NOT mean it's a US exclusive. AT&T will handle it exclusively IN THE US (per the description above... caps for emphasis)

This would make creating the phone easier - no need to worry about CDMA variants for the near future and that pesky fragmentation everyone is so worried about. It would also make it more available globally, since GSM is available in more places and to more people worldwide. ("GSM covers virtually all parts of the world so international roaming is not a problem." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...n_of_mobile_phone_standards )

I have my doubts that this will be anything like as good as the Nexus 5, especially if it's as locked down as Amazon's tablets.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
And they just screwed themselves.

Yeah... we all know how Apple utterly failed by being an AT&T exclusive. To bad... I thought they at-least deserved a chance at success, like Palm and Blackberry. Guess history is doomed to repeat itself.

It is difficult to say how long the exclusivity will be. Some phones come out claiming exclusivity on a network, but then are announced for other networks a few months after release.

AT&T seems to give in to the major hardware maker demands more readily than Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile do. I believe that was a big reason why iPhone was an AT&T exclusive for so long.

wernercd said,

Yeah... we all know how Apple utterly failed by being an AT&T exclusive. To bad... I thought they at-least deserved a chance at success, like Palm and Blackberry. Guess history is doomed to repeat itself.

I know you're being sarcastic, but there's a big difference in the market on when iPhone got out and now. When then iPhone got out, it was a revolution in the smarthphone market. Hell, the competition was nokia, blackberry and palmos. Android didn't exist and Windows Mobile was nearly dead. They got in the wagon right when there was a hole in the market.

Now, the market is big and there's a lot of competition. Limiting yourself to only one carrier is a major fault these days. People don't want those lock phone anymore, they want freedom. Make the phone for one carrier, get a small market share. Open it to the world and you get a way bigger market.

Nodiaque said,
there's a big difference in the market on when iPhone got out and now.

Yeah, but Amazon wasn't the Amazon it is now back then either and in many aspects has more power, resources and reach than even Apple does now.

I doubt Amazon will have the same marketing prowess (Magical! It changes everything! pay $700 for it!), but they also aren't exactly a small fry with nothing to offer. Tablets, shopping, Prime Movies, Prime Music, data for "free", etc.

Will they succeed? Who knows... but to say "AT&T only = failure" is shortsighted to say the least since success isn't measured simply in the number of phones sold (You know... kind of like Apple's sales pitch).