Bad news for those waiting for Amazon’s Kindle to cross the pond: The company won’t launch the Kindle in Britain until next year, missing the holiday season. Why? Network issues.
In the USA, Amazon relies on Sprint’s (S) EVDO network to transmit data wirelessly to the devices, anywhere in the nation. Europe’s fragmented mobile market makes things much more difficult, says Amazon UK’s MD Brian McBride:
If you need agreement with carriers in the US, there is one carrier. In Europe it is a minefield as there are so many operators. If you buy a Kindle in the UK and want to read it on the beach on holiday in Spain, unless we have signed deals in Spain it is not going to work on that beach.
Amazon is still working out arrangements with European carriers, and the device won’t hit European shores until sometime next year.
Not being able to sell the Kindle in the UK won’t hurt Amazon’s Q4 much. In August Citi analyst Mark Mahaney predicted Amazon would be able to move 150,000 of the devices over the holidays. The device’s sales started slow in the US–especially after Amazon blew the early production ramp–so we doubt Mark was banking on a big haul this year in the much smaller UK.