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Dish sells Boost Infinite through Amazon

It turns out there was a bit of truth to rumors reported by Bloomberg, in June, that hinted Amazon was working with one or more wireless carriers in a retail relationship.

Yesterday, Dish said that it will sell its Boost Infinite postpaid phone service through Amazon.

However, this is a much less impactful event than the rumors earlier reported, which speculated that Amazon was interested in becoming a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and was holding discussions with some wireless carriers to strike a wholesale relationship. Amazon, along with Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, all denied those rumors.

In fact, Dish will simply use Amazon as a retail outlet to sell Boost Infinite.

Amazon Prime members are automatically pre-qualified to sign up for Boost Infinite’s service, which costs $25 per month plus taxes. Customers using more than 30GB per month may experience slower speeds. The $25 per month price is good forever as long as the customer remains active on the same plan. Amazon Prime members will receive a $25 bill credit toward their first month of service. Amazon will ship the necessary SIM kit for free, and customers will use an app to self-activate their Boost Infinite service. Dish and Amazon are, however, providing access to a Boost Buddy — a real person — to help with questions, setup and activation.

Dish’s announcement said Prime members would also receive a 20% discount off the cost of the $25 SIM kit. Fierce Wireless called the customer service number found on this website, and the real person we spoke to didn’t know anything about the discount, but they seemed determined to keep us on the line telling us how they wanted to provide a great experience.

Dish says Boost Infinite’s plan is compatible with most unlocked iPhones and Android smartphones. Subscribers may add up to five lines per account. “Amazon is the perfect place to offer this Boost Infinite exclusive deal, making it easy for Prime members to purchase our SIM kit online, with an exclusive 20% discount, and activate their postpaid wireless service without setting foot in a store,” said Jeremy McCarty, head of Boost Infinite, in a statement. McCarty added that, "It's a different approach to wireless, elevating the customer experience and keeping things simple."

Of Dish’s approach to sell its postpaid service through Amazon, Wave7 principal Jeff Moore said, “I see very little impact. Activating wireless service is usually a hands-on process, and it is still mostly done in carrier stores. Boost Infinite has no stores and virtually no retail presence. It is not sold at national retail, and there is only a tiny amount of nascent advertising, so awareness of Boost Infinite is low.”

He noted that the other three national carriers have more than 18,000 stores for postpaid activation, in addition to a national retail presence. “The only point of differentiation that Boost Infinite has is its price,” said Moore. Moore speculates that Dish may sell Boost Infinite at about 200 Boost Mobile stores by the end of this year. Boost Mobile is Dish’s prepaid brand.

Peter Adderton, founder of Boost Mobile who recently launched the new MVNO MobileX, said, “It's good to see Amazon getting into the mobile space, but after all, they are an online retailer, so nothing ground-breaking. It’s not like they wrote Dish a check.”

Adderton also said that the move might put pressure on others, such as Walmart, to sell mobile service via online retail.

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