October 3, 2007, 12:00 AM

Disney exiting wireless network service business

The Walt Disney Internet Group is pulling the plug on its mobile virtual network phone service at year’s end, citing marketplace competition.

The Walt Disney Internet Group is pulling the plug on its mobile virtual network phone service at year’s end, citing the competitive marketplace. The company, No. 60 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, plans to explore new options for its content and services that might include offering its Family Center product through a partnership with a major U.S. carrier.

The Family Center products enable users to display the location of a child’s handset on a map, to limit when and how the child’s phone is used, and to set spending limits on voice and data use.

Although the wireless network hasn’t caught on, Disney believes it offered valued tools to help parents control how their cell phones would be used, says Steve Wadsworth, president of the Walt Disney Internet Group. “Our feedback from customers and critics from the beginning has been that we exceeded the mark in that respect. However, the MVNO model has proven, as we’ve seen with other companies this past year, to be a difficult proposition in the hyper-competitive U.S. mobile phone market. In assessing our business model, we decided that changing strategies was a better alternative to pursue profitable growth in the mobile services area,” he adds.

Current Disney Mobile customers will receive service and support until Dec. 31, 2007. Disney Mobile says it will provide unspecified reimbursement covering handsets as well as accessories and content purchased directly through Disney Mobile on termination of customer accounts.

Disney Mobile launched in mid-2006 and runs on the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network.

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