Amazon Prime already boasts a long line of benefits, including free one-day shipping, a streaming service, and monthly games, but that list may be set to expand with something huge. Per a Bloomberg report, Amazon is reportedly in discussions with Verizon, T-Mobile, and other wireless carriers to explore the possibility of offering low-cost or free nationwide mobile phone service to US Prime subscribers. The negotiations are said to have been ongoing for about six to eight weeks, and Amazon is doing this to enhance customer loyalty among its most significant spenders. Amazon Prime costs $14.99/month or $139/year, while a standalone membership to Prime Video costs $8.99/month.
“We are always exploring adding even more benefits for Prime members, but don’t have plans to add wireless at this time,” Amazon spokesperson Maggie Sivon said in a statement.
Dish shares jumped 18% Friday in New York since a deal with the retail giant could help the struggling satellite-TV company as it transitions to become a national wireless carrier. Meanwhile, T-Mobile fell 7.6%, AT&T dropped 3.8% and Verizon slid 3.5.%. The big three national carriers could see their own subscribers flee to a cheaper option at Amazon. Deutsche Telekom AG, which holds a majority stake in T-Mobile, fell 9.1% in Germany.
T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon all said they were not currently in discussions with Amazon about wireless service. Dish declined to comment.
Amazon is competing with Walmart Inc., whose $98-a-year Walmart+ membership is emerging as a lower-cost alternative offering many of the same perks as Prime and free grocery delivery on orders of at least $35. Amazon in February increased its free grocery delivery threshold to $150 from $35.