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Amazon's Smartphone Will be an AT&T Exclusive
by Karl Bode 09:39AM Tuesday Jun 17 2014
Confirming earlier leaks, the Wall Street Journal indicates that Amazon's new smartphone will indeed be an AT&T exclusive, and may be the first example of AT&T's controversial "Sponsored Data" idea. While the Journal doesn't discuss this, previous leaks have suggested that Amazon is offering something called "Prime Data" for the device, which might allow users to access things like the Amazon store without impacting their usage cap.

Superficially some might find such a deal appealing, but it sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to AT&T power over the application and content ecosystem. We should get more detail tomorrow after the official announcement.

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tpkatl

join:2009-11-16
Dacula, GA

I've never understood why manufacturers go for 'exclusive'

Sure, AT&T has something to toot about. So they have some marketing advantage, maybe.

But if Amazon really wants to make a big splash with their phone and use it as a pipeline for additional sales and broaden the retail horizon, then making this phone exclusive to AT&T seems counter-intuitive.

What's the point of cutting off every Sprint, verizon, T-Mobile, etc. users from Amazon? If I were Bezos, I would want my phone to be available as widely as possible.

In the end, it's all about money, and AT&T must be paying Amazon a pretty good chunk of it for Amazon to whore themselves like this.
Mr Guy

join:2014-05-06
USA

Re: I've never understood why manufacturers go for 'exclusive'

I don't get it either. Would I consider an Amazon phone if one was on Verizon? Sure. Would I consider switching to At&t just to get an Amazon phone? Nope. Maybe one day Bezos will get that.

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

Re: I've never understood why manufacturers go for 'exclusive'

I'm not either it will be a cold day in hell when I give $ to AT&T!
nfotiu

join:2009-01-25

1 recommendation

Normally, I'd agree with you. However, I suspect that Amazon is taking a different approach at differentiating themselves in the phone game. Their killer feature may well be a packaged, heavily subsidized AT&T plan sold through Amazon. ie, it seems possible they could offer something $20 a month for unlimited calling, and unlimited Amazon ecosystem data. Not entirely different than the kindle 3G whispernet they've been doing for years.

robbyglack

@50.243.146.x

Re: I've never understood why manufacturers go for 'exclusive'

said by nfotiu:

Normally, I'd agree with you. However, I suspect that Amazon is taking a different approach at differentiating themselves in the phone game. Their killer feature may well be a packaged, heavily subsidized AT&T plan sold through Amazon. ie, it seems possible they could offer something $20 a month for unlimited calling, and unlimited Amazon ecosystem data. Not entirely different than the kindle 3G whispernet they've been doing for years.

i would go for something like that, but if lots of people bought these strictly for the $20 unlimited calling and never bought anything form amazon could the model survive? i am kind of person who might buy into a deal like that and use the phone for all my calls and whatever else i could do without paying and than carry a second android or ios phone with a cheap data only SIM.

a few years ago i traveled world using whispernet browsing and it was great the alternative would have been no mobile data i was not about to pay the high roaming fees of the day. i am really interested to see what launches tomorrow.

karpodiem
Hail to The Victors
Premium
join:2008-05-20
Detroit, MI
Precisely. This is a walled garden play.
UnnDunn
Premium
join:2005-12-21
Brooklyn, NY
They do it because the carrier will give them free marketing support.

Brick and mortar stores are still the #1 way people shop for phones in this country, and for a less popular phone brand, the only way they can get into carrier stores is by making carrier-exclusive models.

For bigger phone brands like iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and HTC One, the carriers want to offer those phones, so they don't have to be exclusive. Even so, they often offer carrier-exclusive colors or radio bands to differentiate.
kaila

join:2000-10-11
Lincolnshire, IL
It's the extra payola or more favorable terms to the supplier, in exchange for the largely perceived differentiation a new device brings to carriers. IMO, it's a method for carriers to 'compete' with each other, without actually having to do anything.

My company offers deeply imbedded software customizations to smartphones. All the carriers we've had discussions with included either a mention, or outright pursuit of some sort of 'exclusivity'. These are non-US carriers, the US carriers are still ignoring us.

I agree with the notion the worst part of this is the precedent it is setting- granting carriers power over the content.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
Possibly for the same reason we see non in house exclusives in the video game industry, Money changed hands.

In gaming its not totally uncommon to see a company release exclusive to the PS3/4, Nintendo or Xbox 360/One. Even if they are a third party, If the game gets lots of money from one of the console firms its an exclusive. I bet Amazon got a bunch of greenbacks from AT&T.
--
Filan - Aurin Spellslinger - Pago - Team Legacy
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
They didn't want to wait a year to go through Verizon's BS "certification" process?
tabernak

join:2013-08-10
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·AT&T DSL Service
It's mutually beneficial if it's a good phone. Amazon gets subsidized by At&t, and At&t gets new customers that will switch because they really want the phone if it works. That's how apple did it and once they could make more money by going with the other carriers, then they did that as well.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Don't Use Either

I wouldn't have SBC wireless service on a bet, and Amazon's streaming content? Not when I can rent a Blu-ray for around $1.50 less, or outright buy whatever it is, someday down the road, for $5 out of Walmart's grab bin.

The only reason the likes of SBC and Amazon get away with this kind of nonsense is consumers fall for it. Like the saying goes: "There's a sucker born every minute."

Jim

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Brighton, MA

Re: Don't Use Either

SBC Wireless?
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Don't Use Either

said by ArrayList:

SBC Wireless?

AT&T is just a new name for SBC, which bought the name AT&T off the dying long distance carrier as it was being picked apart.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: Don't Use Either

said by ISurfTooMuch:

said by ArrayList:

SBC Wireless?

AT&T is just a new name for SBC, which bought the name AT&T off the dying long distance carrier as it was being picked apart.

It's a little more convoluted than that, but that's essentially correct.

The thing that currently calls itself "at&t" certainly isn't the AT&T I once knew. Then again, as you noted: By the time SBC acquired the tattered remains of that once great company, much of the AT&T I once knew was already gone, anyway.

Jim
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Don't Use Either

Yes, you're right. I was thinking of the old AT&T Wireless name, which was just licensed from AT&T and was allowed to fade away after the former AT&T Wireless was bought by Cingular. When AT&T (the long distance company) was on its deathbed, SBC bought it up, including the name. At that point, I don't think there was much left of it. I remember many people saying that keeping that name was going to be bad for SBC, since AT&T was a much-hated company in American culture, but I guess it worked out. Now, SBC/AT&T is again a much-hated company, which may have been what they were going for all along.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: Don't Use Either

said by ISurfTooMuch:

When AT&T (the long distance company) was on its deathbed, SBC bought it up, including the name. ... I remember many people saying that keeping that name was going to be bad for SBC, since AT&T was a much-hated company in American culture, ...

AT&T hated? I think that was myth more than fact. Most TeleCom professionals, in particular, liked working with AT&T. I know I did. In TelCom rag surveys, AT&T used to rank at the very top, time-after-time.

SBC, tho... everybody hated SBC. Including me. Maybe even especially me. The stories I could tell you about SBC... The thing that currently calls itself "at&t" has absolutely zero chance to ever get my employer's business ever again--unless all other options simply disappear. (In which case, were it me, I'd flippin' move.)

Of all the companies and service providers with which I've ever dealt, both professionally and privately, regardless of product or service, SBC was, without question, far and away absolutely the worst experience, bar none. I dislike SBC so much, I'd actually think about doing without wireless before I'd use them.

They are so bad, in my view, I'm actually mildly offended they're sullying the AT&T name.

Jim
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Don't Use Either

AT&T Bell Labs if I remember correctly used to be known as one of the great places in innovation even for things outside of telecom equipment.

Also if only modern phones were still built with the strength of those old AT&T-Western Electric rotory phones. I mean you could fire those phones through a tank and still make a call.
--
Filan - Aurin Spellslinger - Pago - Team Legacy
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Don't Use Either

True. I remember that, in some old movies, people were actually killed by being hit over the head with those phones.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI
said by Kearnstd:

AT&T Bell Labs if I remember correctly used to be known as one of the great places in innovation even for things outside of telecom equipment.


Indeed. The transistor, for one. The Unix operating system came out of AT&T, too.

said by Kearnstd:

Also if only modern phones were still built with the strength of those old AT&T-Western Electric rotory phones. I mean you could fire those phones through a tank and still make a call.

True, but few people would want to lug-around a 5-lb. wireless phone or pay $3,000 for it

True story: Roommate of mine got so pissed at his ex, one time, that he beat the Western Electric wall phone with its own handset so badly it was just parts hanging in a tangle on the wall.

It still worked.

Bell Telephone replaced it, but told him if he ever did that again they'd make him pay for it next time.

Jim
sam64

join:2006-07-31
Newtown, PA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: Don't Use Either

For all of you out there reminiscing about the "old" AT&T either as a customer or an employee, something that may be of interest to you all
»www.beatriceco.com/bti/porticus/···bell.htm

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH
Yep your PC would't exist with out Bell Labs (they invented the transistor)
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL
From a telecom-industry perspective, they may have been liked (they did, after all, run a good network), but their customers may not have been so inclined. AT&T was a monopoly, they knew it, and they acted the part.

As for SBC, I worked with Southwestern Bell to get high-speed connections installed (I sold them and set up the installation with the appropriate carrier), and, in Arkansas at least, they were OK to work with. As I recall, you really had to know what to ask for when you called them, as the people there didn't have much tolerance for requests that were at all vague, but, once you learned that, getting orders through wasn't so bad.

Now, the only experience I have with AT&T (former BellSouth area) is making sure our U-verse stays up. And, as much as I don't like the company that much (and I loathe the wireless side), my experience has been that their field employees are pretty good, much better than most of the people who work for Comcast.

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

Re: Don't Use Either

Ohio SBC was always nice until they changed to AT&T and $ became more important!

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH
SBC used to be not evil around here... That is until the Shareholders got to the ohio unit!

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Brighton, MA
It's been AT&T Wireless for how many years now? It's not new.
--
A sane approach to our federal budget: Ignore the tea party

biotech

@66.249.113.x
Shouldn't that be Cingular Wireless d/b/a AT&T Mobility LLC. ?
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
Or for those of us who grew up in Connecticut... AT&T is just a new name for SNET. Sad thing is SNET was a better company before it got borged by SBC.
--
Filan - Aurin Spellslinger - Pago - Team Legacy

bigballer

@205.214.216.x

lol

lol this again?.....

limegrass69
Here's my Posting tag

join:2008-05-28

Prime Data

It will also be interesting to see if "Amazon Prime" subscribers are able to stream any of their content (music, video, etc.) with the related data being exempt from metering/caps...

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

1 recommendation

Good For Them

I won't be a customer. I despise AT&T and refuse to do business with them. Frankly I think Amazon is shooting themselves in the foot but that is their decision. When the phone flops, they'll blame it on the market instead of AT&T.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.

buzz_4_20

join:2003-09-20
Limestone, ME

From What I See

This is the culmination of everything wrong with the current state of technology.

robbyglack

@67.176.23.x

can we drop the data plan?

the only way i may find 'prime data' interesting is if the regular data plan could be dropped all together and we can just take amazon only for a cheap monthly rate. but the idea of paying to bypass a data plan i am already paying for just does sit well with me.

i actually liked the way data worked on the original kindles. i had one and actually used it for free web browsing traveling around the world. and while not great it worked. lets see how this works, but i fear it will not be near as interesting as the old kindle data.
SunnyD

join:2009-03-20
Madison, AL

Apparently Amazon didn't learn anything from the Facebook Phone.

Dead on arrival.

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

Re: Apparently Amazon didn't learn anything from the Facebook Phone.

How long did that take to flame out?

fiosultimate

join:2014-06-09
San Antonio, TX

Re: Apparently Amazon didn't learn anything from the Facebook Phone.

Six months, they will learn the hard way

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

If you don't like it, don't buy it.

We as consumers can make this product and data model fail. This sets a very dangerous precedent. The Facebook phone failed despite the hype. Hopefully, nobody outside the AT&T/Amazon echo chamber wants this.

•••••

ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

1 recommendation

HA!

Crappy phone on a crappy provider. Made for each other.
etaadmin

join:2002-01-17
Dallas, TX
kudos:1

Dumb idea for dumb people

With so many 'cool' phones why would anyone buy an amazon phone and switch to at&t? I just bought a new phone (galaxy s5) on t-mobile and I love it, btw it comes with an already installed amazon app.

Every phone I see around are either samsung galaxy sx or iPhones and a few HTCs

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

Ego?

Who does Amazon think they are, Apple? You can't sell your new phone using only AT&T as the carrier, unless you have an iPhone to sell in a market full of flip phones, Blackberries, and crummy PDAs.
travelguy

join:1999-09-03
Santa Fe, NM

Kindle Plus

I'm pretty sure Amazon already has a deal in place for Kindle WhisperNet with AT&T. Makes sense that they would extend it to cover a branded smartphone.

jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

no sale

I guess that means no amazon phone for me. I am not going to lose my grandfathered Verizon plan for an amazon phone. If the phone is where they make the cash then maybe making it exclusive well push for more money at first. but if they are pushing their ecosystem, limiting the users wont go far.

tmh

@173.13.197.x

Good luck with this approach

It'll end up in the dustbin of history.