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You can now buy Amazon Prime for a month at a time — if you're a Sprint customer

Customers can sign up for Amazon Prime as part of their monthly Sprint bill, but will have to pay a hefty premium.

Sprint is announcing Thursday that it will begin offering its subscribers the option to also get Amazon Prime on a monthly basis.

Consumers get the convenience of paying on their regular Sprint bill — but will pay extra for that privilege. Via Sprint, customers will pay $10.99 a month, which adds up to about $132 per year. That’s about one-third more than the $99 that customers pay Amazon when subscribing directly for a year.

The Amazon Prime service is the same — a mix of a music and video service, along with free two-day shipping and other perks.

Sprint, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile operator, says it believes customers will value the convenience of monthly billing and pay a bit more to avoid a long-term commitment.

“Our research shows a huge segment of the population are very interested in this,” Sprint marketing chief Roger Solé said in an interview.

There are some advantages to going month to month, which effectively reduces the cost of entry to Amazon Prime to $11. Customers could, for example, binge watch their favorite Amazon shows for a month and cancel. Others might see value in getting the free two-day shipping just for the holidays or a busy shopping period. A month-to-month option could also be attractive to those who can’t afford or don’t want to pay the larger lump sum, or for those weighing Amazon against other services that charge monthly, such as Hulu or Netflix.

Still, for long-time subscribers, it’s technically not a great deal, which contrasts with how Sprint has positioned itself as a value carrier. Pricing “has been a joint decision with Amazon and ourselves,” Solé said.

And unlike rival T-Mobile, Sprint is not exempting music or video from a customer’s data cap, a practice known as zero rating.

“That’s something we analyzed, but so far we have decided not to move forward in that direction,” Solé said, adding that most Sprint customers have either an unlimited or very large data plan.

Not to mention, he said, there are still net neutrality issues around zero rating. (It’s worth noting that Sprint-owned Boost Mobile already offers zero-rated music streaming from a number of services, though not Amazon Prime.)

The Amazon deal may not be Sprint’s last in the space, as Solé says the company prefers to partner with others rather than building its own entertainment options.

“If we were talking 10 years ago or even seven years ago that might be different,” Solé said. “We think that the world has matured. We have all of these over-the-top players that are developing fantastic innovations.”

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