Amazon has reportedly tested a wireless network as it looks to become an infrastructure player alongside its e-commerce and device businesses.
Sources told Bloomberg that the network has been tested in Cupertino, California, using spectrum belonging to Globalstar, a satellite communications firm. Amazon’s Lab126 research operations, which designed the company’s Kindle e-reader and tablet devices, are based in Cupertino.
By becoming more involved with technology for people to connect to the internet, Amazon could provide a more comprehensive user experience, encompassing how consumers get online, what device they use and what they do once online.
As well as its Kindle devices that are capable of wireless connectivity there have been rumours that Amazon is working on a smartphone. It already has the Amazon Appstore for Android apps.
And with Amazon becoming a bigger player in video, investing in connectivity could make sense, analyst Chetan Sharma told Bloomberg.
Globalstar has applied to convert about 80 per cent of its satellite spectrum for use with Wi-Fi. A decision is expected in the next few months, with sources saying the company is considering whether to lease the spectrum.
Another online player looking at infrastructure is Google, which secured spectrum in the US and built high-speed fibre-based networks in 17 cities. It also has a Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, California, where it has its headquarters, and recently agreed to provide Starbucks coffee shops with wireless connectivity.