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Would You Buy Amazon's Smartphone if the Retailer Paid for Your Data?

Amazon's new smartphone is rumored to be an AT&T exclusive, but more importantly, the retailer may pick up part of your monthly tab by paying for select data usage.
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While some consumers were secretly hoping Amazon would unveil a new mobile network to rival the big four, a new report by the Wall Street Journal indicates that may not be the case. Instead, the Amazon smartphone will be an AT&T exclusive, says the WSJ.

If true, the new Amazon cell phone would greatly benefit AT&T by bringing it new customers at a time of fierce competition amongst mobile carriers. Since AT&T already provides wireless service to Amazon's Kindle tablets and e-readers, the partnership isn't too far fetched. For consumers, however, an AT&T exclusive means potentially being locked down to one carrier, much like Apple initially required its customers to sign up with AT&T for the iPhone.

Data Used on Amazon Might be Free

But Amazon may have another trick up its sleeve. Rumors indicate Amazon may pay for part of its customers' data bill by using a hybrid of AT&T's Sponsored Data program. The program, which was launched at the start of the year, lets companies foot the bill for data traffic used by specific apps and services on customers' devices, explains BGR.

This means whenever someone with an Amazon smartphone consumes data via an Amazon app, such as Instant Video or its recently announced Prime Music app, Bezos will foot the bill, and not the consumer. In other words, that data usage won't count against monthly data caps. Consumers would only be responsible for data usage spent on other, non-Amazon apps and sites.

Some net neutrality groups have spoken out against this scenario saying carriers shouldn't be in control of what its customers do on the Internet. What do you think? Would this type of plan bother you or would you gladly buy an Amazon phone knowing that Bezos will partially pay for your data usage?


Senior Features Writer

With over a decade of experience covering technology, Louis Ramirez has written for CNET, Laptop, Gizmodo, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @louisramirez.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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4 comments
dwtaylor99
I wouldn't go for this. This is the opposite of Net Neutrality. Big companies choosing for the consumer.
just me
No free lunch people... Free isn't really free. Look at Facebook - they're locking it down bit by bit making it a pay-per-use kind of thing (for businesses) while selling user-information to 3rd parties (of everyday users). And here you thought Zuck was a nice guy and made a dandy social-program to just give away... Bezos may give away the transportation, but you're paying for what you're getting (maybe paying a bit more even because it's so convenient) - either way, you're locked in and they're raking it in! "Smart" phone - HA! They're the smart ones!
icon_st
Amazon is slowly becoming like leeches, same old greedy company like everybody else. I was thinking they have different mindset, but NOT!! Way to go T-mobile. no contracts, unlimited plans and you know what you are paying for your phone.
HeyTiger
I think this is the internet equivalent of the 1800 number. I'm okay with it, but would never go for it.
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