Amazon Wireless Phone Service May Be Called Prime Data

Multiple unnamed sources told BGR on Friday that Amazon is planning to offer a wireless data plan for its unannounced 3D-laced phone, which is supposed to make an appearance in the coming months. Currently, this plan is called "Prime Data," and will be one of the big selling points for the phone.

Unfortunately, that's it for juicy details. The rest is mere speculation by sources close to Amazon's plans. There's some belief that Amazon's phone will be offered exclusively at AT&T in the United States. This plan may be similar to AT&T's "Sponsored Data" program launched back in January (opens in new tab).

"Data charges resulting from eligible uses will be billed directly to the sponsoring company; the customer simply enjoys their content via AT&T's wireless data network," states AT&T's PR. "Customers will see the service offered as AT&T Sponsored Data, and the usage will appear on their monthly invoice as Sponsored Data. Sponsored Data will be delivered at the same speed and performance as any non-Sponsored Data content."

In other words, use a sponsor's app and that usage won't be charged against the customer's monthly data pool. In Amazon's case, users may not be charged for accessing Music in Amazon MP3, or watching a movie or TV show via Instant Video. They also may not be charged for downloading an app via the Appstore, or for shopping via the mobile app.

There's speculation that the $20 price hike with Amazon Prime's annual fee may be covering the costs associated with Prime Data. There's also the possibility that a data plan may become part of the Prime subscription package, discounted for those members while regular Amazon shoppers would pay a larger fee for the same amount of data.

Talk of Amazon having its own wireless service escalated last fall when sources said that Amazon was currently testing a new wireless network in Cupertino, California. The trial took place in the vicinity of Amazon's Lab126 research facilities in Cupertino, the very same facilities that designs and engineers Kindle devices.

Earlier this week, sources revealed that Amazon's 3D phone will support tilt gestures. By tilting the handset in different directions, the phone will render additional information without the user having to touch anything. Amazon wants users to interact with the 4.7-inch display with just one hand, and without having to touch the screen.

As an example, when the maps app is loaded and the user performs a restaurant search, the user can tilt the phone to see Yelp ratings. When the user has opened the movies app, he/she can tilt the phone to see the IMDb ratings on top of movie thumbnails. And when viewing products on Amazon, the user can apply gestures to cycle through images.

As usual, everything here is mere rumor and speculation, but there's plenty of recent chatter to indicate that the device and its wireless service may actually make an appearance in the near future.

Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • velocityg4
    If my prime subscription is subsidizing this. I think I'll be cancelling it when it comes time to renew.
  • teh_chem
    Not even 'sponsored data usage' would encourage me to use an amazon phone if the UI is based on the fire tablet OS. And that's coming from someone with amazon prime, who uses amazon MP3, and occasionally watched movies on Prime Video.
  • sykozis
    There's no reason that Amazon Prime members should be paying for this "service" if they're not using it. If it turns out that's why the rest of us are getting a price hike, I'm done with Amazon.
  • cletus_slackjawd
    I think they could succeed in tying their many services into the phone if the price was right. I'd certainly consider trying a new service when my current contract ends
  • BranFlake5
    Why does Amazon feel the need to expand past offering a decent video service and a great online shopping experience? Somebody's getting money hungry...