Amazon have just announced their Kindle eBook reader is about to be made available in 100 countries outside of the US.
Amazon.com introduced a new addition to its family of portable reading devices–Kindle with U.S. & International Wireless. Kindle with U.S. & International Wireless now enables readers to wirelessly download content in over 100 countries and territories. Readers can pre-order Kindle with U.S. & International Wireless starting today for $279 at www.amazon.com/kindle and it ships October 19.
The Kindle includes a wireless data modem. In the US Amazon has partnered with AT&T as the network partner to deliver books and magazines over the air to the Kindle. There is no data charge for downloading books – rather the download cost is covered in the book fee or magazine subscription. It’s a nice model as Amazon customers don’t have to think about mobile data charges. There is no wifi in Kindle so AT&T can’t be bypassed.
The industry has assumed that Amazon was doing deals with other carriers around the world. In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand we’d assumed that Vodafone was going to lock up a deal and bring the Amazon Kindle into these markets – no doubt with a horrible price differential on books but at least we’d be able to get and use a local Kindle.
This is the normal model for rolling out Telco products globally. With the iPhone, a local carrier could do an exclusive deal for their market (for a period of time).
But AT&T seem to be providing the service globally, exploiting the GSM international roaming agreements they have.
I’ve never seen this before: a carrier competing against others outside of their market, by bypassing the local carrier and selling directly to their customers. This is a massive change to the international Telco market.
A few thoughts spring to mind.
- Are the UK, Australia and New Zealand included in the 100 countries?
- The margin on this must be substantial – if they can cover international roaming charges which are notoriously high
- Will the international prices be more expensive to cover the roaming charges?
- Will pricing be in US dollars – i.e. global pricing?
- Did Vodafone see this coming?
- Will local carriers block the service?
- Will UK, Australia and New Zealand have the full catalog or will it be limited like iTunes
- Could we drop your bank transactions and KPI’s as a daily newsletter through Kindle? So when you open your Kindle in the morning your Xero transactions are there.
Another fascinating one to watch.