May 29, 2012

The river widens: Amazon to sell pre-paid SIM Cards in Japan


This is not a book industry story, but it is yet another reminder about the nature of the company that now essentially controls the industry’s marketplace.

Predictably, has entered the wireless market on its own. The company announced they will begin selling wireless prepaid cards in Japan, which marks the first time that a non-Japanese company has entered the Japanese wireless data market. In this case Amazon is reselling data, but that should not inhibit any eyebrow raising.

Davinda Hardawar reports the details of the product launch for VentureBeat:

Amazon will soon start selling prepaid SIM cards for Japan’s NTT Docomo LTE network as an MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator (like Boost and Virgin Mobile), the Verge reports based on earlier reporting from Nikkei. This marks the first time that a foreign company will offer wireless service within Japan, and for Amazon it’s also a big step towards controlling the entire wireless ecosystem.

So what’s next? Does this mean that it is only a matter of time before Amazon launches the KindleTalk or some other sort of rinky-dink but oh-so cheap cell phone product? It doesn’t seem as ridiculous as it might have a year or so ago. Remember when Netflix looked invincible and Amazon only a whelp in the streaming business?

It’s hard to say that anything is a slippery slope for Amazon these days.

Paul Oliver is the marketing manager of Melville House. Previously he was co-owner of Wolfgang Books in Philadelphia.