Amazon as a wireless carrier? It seems like an outrageous idea, but it's a move that could be in the cards according to a new report. T-Mobile and Sprint -- the third- and fourth-place U.S. wireless carriers respectively -- are looking to complete a merger that has seen some pushback from the U.S. Government.
As part of the merger agreement, T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to offload Sprint's Boost prepaid brand; a divestiture that could bring in as much as $3 billion. Boost currently has between 7 to 8 million customers according to recent estimates. According to Reuters, Amazon reportedly wants in on the action and is looking to purchase Boost to grow its empire.
In addition, it's been said that Amazon would like to pick up additional wireless spectrum that T-Mobile and Sprint are offering to sell, which could put a total transaction price closer to $4.5 billion.
However, there are a lot of complications with this deal. Boost currently operates on Sprint's network, so it would be presumed that any deal with Amazon would adhere to that network limitation. However, Reuters says that a potential deal could give Amazon access to the "New T-Mobile" wireless network for a period of six years.
And as the publication bluntly puts it, "It was not immediately clear why the largest U.S. online retailer would want the wireless network and spectrum."
Amazon's last self-branded foray into the smartphone business was with its Fire Phone. That effort failed miserably and the company basically giving them away in the end. Today, the retail giant sells "Amazon Exclusive" Android phones at a discount that come preloaded with Amazon apps and services.
The move to become a wireless carrier could broaden its smartphone push, and give the company an even more pervasive presence in America. Besides Amazon online retail business, it also offers streaming music, a streaming video platform, and has delved into the grocery business with its Whole Foods purchase. And we can't forget the company's deep push into the smart home market with Alexa-powered Echo smart speakersand its acquisitions of companies like Ring.
Acquiring Boost might seem like a strange purchase for Amazon, but we wouldn’t put it beyond the realms of possibility.