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Amazon tried out 'transformative' new wireless network for future products

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Amazon Press Event
Amazon Press Event

Earlier this year, Amazon took part in a test of a new wireless service at three of its Lab126 offices in California. Amazon doesn't seem to be interested in launching the network itself, but instead was likely testing the network to see how it could work for its own future products. The tests were conducted by the Jarvinian Wireless Innovation Fund on spectrum owned by Globalstar — the latter of which is best known for its Spot branded satellite phones. Globalstar has been pushing to get its spectrum holdings approved for terrestrial use so it can launch a "Terrestrial Low Power Service" (TLPS) that it claims offers faster than Wi-Fi speeds.

Bloomberg reports that Amazon, which hosted tests of TLPS network, would use it to "allow customers to connect its devices to the Internet." The tests were actually first noticed by Tim Farrar, who discovered an FCC filing in which Jarvinian stridently argued that the TLPS network wouldn't interfere with existing networks. However, in the course of making that argument, Jarvinian happened to say that the point of the tests were to "help a major technology company assess the significant performance benefits of TLPS for a transformative consumer broadband application."

Lab126, where the tests were performed, is Amazon's aggressively-expanding R&D division and has been reported to be the place where Amazon's rumored set-top box is being developed. It's entirely possible that the long-standing rumors of a Kindle phone could be involved. The most likely explanation? That it makes sense for a company that sells wireless devices like the Kindle to examine any and all alternatives for connectivity.