Will Amazon Launch A Kindle International Mobile Network?

Amazon has confirmed a few hours ago that it won't charge a penny (or an Euro) for purchasers of its spanking new Kindle Wireless International Edition but this has only raised more questions.

Speaking to journalists, an Amazon UK spokesperson clarified the company's position over the $1.99 download charge that US customers have to pay, saying that "Wireless delivery is included in the price of the book for international customers so there are no additional charges."

They will be connected courtesy of AT&T Global Network, through the Kindle International's built-in GSM wireless modem. The US version of the Kindle uses Amazon's Whispernet, piggybacking on the Sprint EVDO network and in comparison, the International version will use AT&T both locally and abroad.

But that's not all. AT&T doesn't have a network or even a recognised partner in the UK. Back in July, there were rumours that Amazon was looking to become a MVNO which would certainly make the picture clearer.

Amazon sells contract mobile phones (a la Carphone Warehouse) in the US but not here. At least not until now.

So either Amazon knows something that we don't (certainly) or they have forgotten something fundamental. Rupert Goodwins goes as far as positing that Amazon could have spawned the St Graal of international travellers, A global, free, 3G data SIM. Wouldn't count on that though.

Our Comments

We will know more in 12 days or so as Amazon launches the Kindle in the UK and elsewhere. Apart from the connectivity issue, Amazon will also face questions regarding copyright across regions. As the Guardian puts it, will some pictures be displayed in some countries and not others because of IP issues?

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