Kindle in Europe: Amazon close to UK MVNO deal

Having seen success in the US for its Kindle ebook, Amazon is now said to be in final negotiations with a UK mobile operator concerning an MVNO launch. The company is looking to complete the MVNO deal in time to have Kindle working on a W-CDMA-based cellular network in time for the build-up to Christmas.

While the European Kindle device will follow the US model of being able to download publications via the PC and Wi-Fi, Amazon wants the Kindle to have 3G W-CDMA connectivity--as is the case in the US except the device has been designed to use CDMA technology.

The company has failed so far to find a UK operator prepared to host the Kindle's Whispernet connections which make the device so unique in the marketplace. This data-only service supports the download of electronic magazines and books to the Kindle device in a manner that is transparent to the user.

Amazon is understood to have outsourced all aspects of manufacturing for the Kindle in the UK to Qualcomm, including securing cellular connectivity with a mobile operator in the UK. Qualcomm already runs the backend for Whispernet in the US, including handling the billing between Amazon and Sprint.

Operators that can be discounted from these discussions are Vodafone--it has launched its own version of the Kindle in Germany, while Orange is working on an ebook in its domestic French market. However, Amazon has rubbished these offerings by mobile operators claiming that publishers need to be very sure of the benefits before becoming involved. The company maintains it has spent over a decade building these relationships.

For more on this story:
Mobile Today and The Register

Related stories:
T-Mobile and Vodafone stall Kindle launch in Germany
Amazon promises Kindle content across more devices
Google takes on Amazon Kindle with mobile ebooks
Report: Sprint's Kindle ARPU is just $2 per month