Amazon has made a major move into the mobile phone retail market in the States with the launch of AmazonWireless.

Currently in beta, the new website offers "cell phones" and service plans, promising American consumers an easier, free-shipping shopping experience without the hassle of having to mail in for rebates, a feature of the US mobile phone market.

At the moment, the site just offers around 120 handsets from AT&T and Verizon Wireless but there are plans to extend the site's offering, dependent on its success.

"We've taken our eight years’ experience selling cell phones to create a new site that makes a potentially confusing transaction much easier for customers", said Paul Ryder, vice president of consumer electronics for

"The step-by-step purchase process on AmazonWireless makes it easy for customers who already have a plan to upgrade their phones. If you want to establish new cell phone service, we’ve made it simple to find the right phone, service plan and options for your needs. We’ve also eliminated the technical jargon and frustrating rebate paperwork that customers often face when buying a phone".

There is no news on a similar offering in the UK, although no doubt Carphone Warehouse, Phones4U and the like will be watching with interest.