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What if Amazon took Sprint’s place as the US’s fourth wireless carrier?

Reuters is reporting something rather intriguing and inexplicable on its face: Amazon is interested in buying the Boost Mobile MVNO network from T-Mobile and Sprint, reportedly so that Amazon can have access T-Mobile’s wireless network for a number of years and even purchase some of T-Mobile’s spectrum.

Here are a few of the background facts that make this so intriguing:

So how, exactly, would Amazon buy Boost from T-Mobile, get access to T-Mobile’s network and possibly even some spectrum? Perhaps if Amazon positioned itself as that possible fourth new wireless carrier, pitching itself as the solution to everyone’s woes.

Oh, we are SO deep in speculation territory now.

I’m going to agree with Reuters here: “It was not immediately clear why the largest U.S. online retailer would want the wireless network and spectrum.”

But since we’re already speculating, let’s hazard a guess: Amazon is a gigantic delivery company for all kinds of goods and cloud services, and one that’s been increasingly focused on dealing directly with its customers to the point it’s buying up retail entities like Whole Foods and creating shipping enterprises that rival FedEx and UPS.

It makes a certain degree of sense that it might want to own the last mile that connects Amazon’s internet services to its users, too — particularly if Amazon is pursuing services where the optimization of a wireless network matters greatly, like a rumored cloud gaming initiative. Though cloud gaming is not nearly enough reason by itself.

Two of the other internet giants, Google and Facebook, have both pursued their own internet delivery schemes over the years. Why not Amazon, particularly if it can get a good deal from two carriers that are desperate to merge?

And while it wouldn’t require Amazon to create a wireless carrier, it’s worth noting that Amazon once had ambitions to sell phones as the ultimate human touchpoint for all its consumer services, and now wouldn’t be the worst time to try phones again — an EU ruling late last year makes it a lot easier for smartphone makers to sell Android devices without Google’s buy-in, at least in Europe. A wireless network could maybe give Amazon more leverage in the US.

For now, it’s just “two sources familiar with the matter” telling Reuters that Amazon is interested, though. The rest is my imagination running wild.


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