Exclusive: Amazon Wants To Offer Its Smartphone for Free. Who Will Follow?

jessica lessin

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By Amir Efrati and Jessica E. Lessin

UPDATED: This story has been updated to reflect a comment from Amazon, saying if it were to launch a phone in the future, it would not be free.

Which technology giant will be the first to offer a free smartphone? Amazon.com Inc. is making a play.

In a previously unreported move, the online retailer and Kindle maker is considering introducing its long-planned smartphone for free to consumers, according to people familiar with Amazon’s effort.

There are many unanswered questions about the plan and what strings will be attached for customers. One of them is whether Amazon would require its  smartphone owners to pay for services such as Amazon Prime, the company’s loyalty program. But the people familiar with the matter said that Amazon wants the device to be free whether or not people sign up for a new wireless plan at the same time. (Wireless…

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