Amazon cuts price of Fire smartphone to 99 cents

Amazon plans to sell its Fire smartphone for 99 cents—when purchased with a two-year contract—as the company looks to compete against industry leaders in the high-end mobile market, the company said on Monday.

Amazon also plans to include a free year of Amazon Prime subscription with the purchase.

"With access to all of the Prime content, Mayday, 32GB of memory and free unlimited cloud storage for photos, plus the exclusive Dynamic Perspective and Firefly features, Fire is another example of the value Amazon delivers to customers," said Ian Freed, vice president of Amazon Devices.

Fire smartphone by
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The new price is a huge jump from when Amazon unveiled the premium handset in June at $199 with a two-year contract and 32GB of memory, or $649, around the same price of Apple's iPhone 5S. The phone is sold exclusively through AT&T.

The announcement comes on the eve of industry leader Apple's highly anticipated product release where its expected to reveal the next generation iPhone and wearable accessory.

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Fire has been criticized for its short battery life and its incompatibility with other interfaces.

Last month, Mike Gikas, an editor at Consumer Reports, told CNBC that the phones biggest issues is it locks users into Amazon's retail interest—preventing them from downloading popular Google apps like Gmail, Maps, Play and Drive.

Read MoreAmazon Fire smartphone 'traps' users: Consumer Reports

"It's not like you need that phone to tap into all of the content and the wonderful things that Amazon has to offer… my two-year old Android phone can get most of the benefits that Amazon offers.

The Fire phone—which ranks fourth among contract phones on Amazon's own best sellers list—will be available in the U.K. and Germany later this month.

Amazon shares were nearly 2 percent lower in midday trading on the NYSE.

—By CNBC's Karma Allen