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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?

Related Links

Amazon: International Kindle owners won't have to pay roaming charges

(Pocket-Lint)

Kindle, international ebook of mystery

(ZDNet)

Amazon Kindle 2: some questions answered - and a poll

(Guardian)

Amazon Releases Global Kindle, Lowers Price Of Original

(Redorbit)

Amazon drops Kindle price, goes international

(Afterdawn)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.