Amazon may be building a wireless network of its own - WSMV Channel 4

Amazon may be building a wireless network of its own

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Suzanne Choney, NBC News

(NBC) - Amazon Kindles, and perhaps other devices, may one day use Amazon's own wireless network for downloads and syncing of books, movies and other content, as well as ordering goods. The online retail giant reportedly has been testing a network for just that purpose.

Bloomberg, citing "people with knowledge of the matter" who declined to be named, said Amazon is testing a wireless network using spectrum that is controlled by a satellite communications company, Globalstar.

But Amazon apparently isn't seeking to puts its wireless network in space. Globalstar is seeking federal approval to lease its spectrum to wireless carriers, cable and technology companies, Bloomberg said.

The testing — which may still be going on — was allegedly taking place "in the vicinity of Amazon's Lab126 research facilities in Cupertino [Calif.], the people said," where Kindles are designed. 

In the U.S., Amazon gives its Kindle owners free wireless access to download books and sync them using its Whispernet service. Whispernet runs on AT&T's 3G cellular network.

"Right now, the cellular cost on Kindle is baked into the product. If that cost goes down, Amazon could potentially drop the price of the device or the goods," Chetan Sharma, mobile industry analyst, told NBC News Friday.

Sharma said the expense of Amazon building its own network would not be insignificant, but "it is always advisable to be tinkering around with the whole stack — from networks to devices to apps."

A network, he said, "is just a means to an end [to] deliver more commerce, and if this allows Amazon to deliver the goods more economically, more power to them."

NBC News contacted Amazon for comment, but has not yet heard back. 

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