Earlier this year, Amazon launched a new storefront dubbed the “Amazon Cable Store,” which focused on reselling Comcast’s internet and television service from the retailer’s site. Of course, the generic name “Cable Store” seemed to hint that Comcast wouldn’t be the only company featured on this site in the future – and that has turned out to be true. Amazon has now added Frontier Communications to the storefront, allowing online shoppers to compare internet plans from Frontier, as well as browse Comcast Xfinity bundles that include TV, internet and phone.
Along with the Frontier addition, the storefront no longer calls itself “Amazon Cable Store.” Rather, it simply reads “Amazon Internet | TV | Phone.”
On the site, you can scroll down to see the available internet plans from each provider, ranging from starter plans for one device (10 Mbps+) to those for households with half a dozen or more (150 Mbps+). There are also links that let you browse all the internet plans and the bundles available from both Comcast Xfinity and Frontier.
When you click through to see a given plan, it’s listed much like any other Amazon product. There’s a title, image, description, rating, and customer reviews. But instead of an “add to cart” or 1-click checkout button, consumers click a “Proceed to Service Setup” button to place their order.
Some of the packages Amazon sells are available to new customers, while others are also available to existing customers. Some are available contract-free, too. Pricing and availability for the packages are based on the customer’s zip code.
A Frontier spokesperson tells us that Amazon’s prices are the same as its own, and its packages are available across the company’s 29-state footprint. Frontier began its Amazon sales on November 15th, but declined to disclose its split with Amazon. Currently, Frontier’s packages are for new customers only.
Amazon’s move into this space has been interesting because of several reasons. While the site makes comparing plans and sign-up easier, it also lets consumers leave reviews about the service provider directly on Amazon’s site. And poor customer service is something that many internet and TV providers have struggled with in the past.
To help address that problem, Amazon’s partners have promised “exclusive customer service” for those who buy from Amazon. Comcast, for example, said earlier it had dedicated two call centers in Tucson, Arizona and Spokane, Washington, to handling inquiries from Amazon customers.
For participating providers, it’s clear Amazon’s site is a lead gen play. The service providers like that Amazon simplifies setup by reducing the clicks it takes to place an order.
Amazon didn’t disclose its deal terms, but, according to prior reports, there’s an affiliate revenue stream involved.
In addition to its cut of these sales, Amazon benefits in other ways. For example, it can direct customers shopping for products like new TVs to visit this Internet/TV/Phone storefront and compare plans. It can also point those shopping for packages to related items, like third-party modems, routers, hotspots and other networking equipment.
The retailer’s plans for the site include expanded to other interested providers in the future. Charter Communications said it had talked with Amazon earlier this year about participation, for instance. And with Amazon’s expansion beyond just “cable” services, the site is now poised to take on reselling a broader array of bundles, including those that aren’t just internet or tv.