Amazon is in “advanced negotiations” with a UK mobile operator to launch as an MVNO to support the launch of its Kindle e-reader, reports Mobile Today. The online retail giant is reportedly aiming to launch Kindle in the UK in time for the Christmas shopping season and is understood to have outsourced all aspects of manufacturing for the Kindle in the UK to Qualcomm, including securing wireless connectivity with a UK mobile operator. In the US, the Kindle works with Sprint Nextel’s network, but Mobile Today suggests the UK launch could see Amazon launching as a full MVNO. It is reported to have discussed a potential MVNO deal with the likes of Vodafone, Orange and 3 around six months ago, but failed to reach an agreement. A spokesman for Amazon gave little away around its future plans: “We have previously announced that we are looking to release the Kindle with our international customers. At the moment we have no timeline.” Kindle launched in November 2007 and Amazon claims it is already achieving 26 percent of traditional book sales in the US.
The report notes that Amazon could meet some resistance from mobile operators that have launched their own wireless-enabled e-readers. Vodafone has launched its own version of the Kindle in Germany, while Orange is working on an e-book in its domestic French market. “There’s no reason we can’t do it. We have a billing arrangement already with customers, and have fantastic relationships with the hardware community,” said one source at a mobile operator. However, an unnamed Amazon source questioned the ability of the mobile operators to target the e-book market. “There is a whole ecosystem of publishers that you can’t just walk into. We have been here for 12 years,” the insider said.