Telecom Timeout

Aug 26 2009   7:23PM GMT

Sony joins wireless e-reader market; yee-hah for operators

Kate Gerwig Kate Gerwig Profile: Kate Gerwig

Sony announced the Digital Edition, its wireless electronic reader that will compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle and hit the market in December. I’m thrilled to see Sony go wireless, even though technologically I’m a Kindle enthusiast and give silent thanks to Jeff Bezos every time I download a book in a matter of seconds and don’t have to pay for it.

Whatever the differences between the Sony and Amazon products – touch screen, no touch screen — the arrival of more digital reading devices is good news for wireless operators. As my e-colleague Michael Morisy pointed out, Sprint’s revenue for providing Amazon with Kindle wireless data and related support services is low on the traditional telecom ARPU scale, but high overall because Sprint’s costs per subscriber are minimal. A service provider doing business with Sony would no doubt get a similar deal.

Sony also announced a deal with the New York Public Library that will allow digital subscribers to download 29,000 loaner ebooks (read them in 21 days or they self-destruct). To me that means more digitized content to an activity-specific device, and more wireless data for operators to transport, and more for me to download. Now I have to get back to my digital version of Julia Child’s memoir.

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