Amazon and Sprint Debut Wireless Net Shopping

As part of the new Amazon.com Anywhere initiative, Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and nationwide digital wireless phone network Sprint PCS (NYSE: PCS) announced today that owners of Internet-enabled Sprint PCS phones can now shop at Amazon.com without a computer.

Customers are able to shop online by choosing Amazon.com from their Sprint PCS phone’s MiniBrowser menu. In an attempt to simplify matters for shoppers, Amazon is making it possible for customers to buy and send gifts by entering just the recipient’s e-mail address. Amazon.com will then contact the recipient to arrange delivery.

“We want shopping to be the easiest thing our customers do this holiday season,” said Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com. “Our Amazon.com Anywhere initiative continues to expand how our customers find, discover, and buy anything online — at any time, from anywhere.”

Amazon.com is also offering customers the opportunity to shop using Palm Pilots.

Expanding Market

Sprint launched its PCS Wireless Web service in late September, offering wireless data services such shopping, stock trading, Internet-based content access and personalized news, weather, stock quotes and e-mail updates. Amazon.com Anywhere gives Sprint PCS Internet customers their first specific shopping site to visit.

“We’re excited to join Amazon.com and be the first wireless provider to offer online shopping via the Sprint PCS Wireless Web to our customers nationwide,” said Andrew Sukawaty, president of Sprint PCS. “Our customers are already using the Sprint PCS Wireless Web to access their stock portfolios, check the news, or see if a flight is on time.”

Sprint PCS is arguably America’s largest all-digital national wireless telephone network. According to Media Metrix, Amazon.com is the top online shopping site, with more than 12 million visitors in October,

How It Works

Amazon.com collaborated with Phone.com (Nasdaq: PHCM) to develop an application to display the Amazon.com shopping service on wireless phones. Users can pre-register on the Amazon.com site to store their purchasing information online and access it with a few keypad strokes on the PCS phone, or they can use the phone to open an account with the retailer.

Using the Internet-enabled Sprint PCS phones in place of a modem, phone customers can also connect to the Internet or a corporate Intranet.

The Sprint PCS Wireless Web service is available for $9.99 (US$) per month or 39 cents per minute, on top of the Sprint PCS service fee, which starts at $29.99 per month. There is no extra service charge to access an Amazon.com account from a Sprint PCS phone.

Wireless Users Growing Quickly

Research firm The Yankee Group estimates that there are at least 220 million worldwide digital wireless phone subscribers. The number of Internet users is estimated at 150 million.

Additionally, in five years, the Yankee Group predicts that there will be more than 500 million Internet accounts and 1 billion wireless phone users. Internet-enabled phone users are expected to reach 48 million worldwide by 2002, and 204 million by 2005.

Stock Impact

Shares of Sprint PCS, which have been on an uptrend all year, climbed 2-7/16 to 96-3/4 in early trading today. Shares of Amazon.com soared 6-3/8 to 92-7/16.

Coverage of Amazon.com was initiated today by ING Barings, which gave the stock a strong buy rating.

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