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Carriers Face Tough Battle As Vendors Cuddle Up To Amazon

Sales of smartphones via, Telstra Optus and Vodafone, will be threatened by the arrival of Amazon who range over 82M smartphones and related accessories claims analysts.

Smartphone vendors who are “fed up” with the demands being placed on them by carriers in Australia have told ChannelNews that they “cannot wait” for the arrival of Amazon who currently sell almost, every known smartphone brand in the world.

Brands set to benefit most from the arrival of Amazon are Chinese brands such as Motorola, Huawei, Alcatel, ZTE all Companies who have struggled to get their full range of devices ranged at carriers in Australia.

Chinese tech giant Huawei who has a close relationship with Amazon is adding the online retailer’s artificial intelligence application Alexa to its flagship smartphone which will be launched in Australia shortly.

The number three global smartphone brand, said at CES that their Mate 9 handset would include the personal digital assistant developed by Amazon.

The Mate 9, a large-screen “phablet” marketed as a rival to the big handsets from Apple and Samsung, it will be available to Australian buyers in “early 2017,” the Chinese firm said at CES.

Huawei said this is the first smartphone to pre-install Amazon Alexa, a cloud-based, voice-activated digital assistant that can control smart home devices or respond to questions.

Amazon is making Alexa available to third parties as it seeks to boost its presence in the consumer electronics field with artificial intelligence and home automation.

Alexa is battling similar services developed by Google, Microsoft and Apple that can be used on a smartphone or home speaker hub.

Forrester Research analysts claim that carriers are currently under pressure due to a fall in smartphone sales, a move by retailers such as JB Hi Fi to expand their range of smartphones and accessories and a move by consumers to buy their smartphone via an online site.

They said that online sites such as Amazon are “A major purchase source for smartphone buyers”.

Vendors in Australia have told ChannelNews that the arrival of Amazon will allow them to bypass carrier approval for smartphones, this is a process that can take more than 3 months and cost smartphone manufactures over $200,000 per model being certified. In addition, carriers are asking for up to $200,000 to certify an upgrade such as a new Android OS.

In both the USA and UK online smartphone sales are booming Vs traditional carrier sales that are falling.

Vendors have also told ChannelNews that Telstra is demanding that vendors deal with two different groups of buyers to get their products ranged.

One group decides on smartphones while another group decides on accessories associated with the devices despite the accessories and smartphone being related.

This has led to devices that work together not being ranged in Telstra stores who are also struggling to rang smartphones and accessories together in their stores.

It has also led to brands not being ranged at all in Telstra stores. A classic example is the new Motorola range of smartphones including the Motorola Z which comes with several accessories.

Currently smartphone vendors are looking to expand their range of accessories which now include VR Goggles, smartwatches that connect to smartphones as well as attach battery packs and speakers.

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