• 31 OCT 05
    • 0

    New Telco enters the market: Walt Disney!

    ALL I can say about this is, how low can these Bastards go?



    The Sunday Times – Business

    The Sunday Times October 30, 2005

    Disney courts controversy with move into UK mobile market
    Paul Durman

    THE Walt Disney Company has started to recruit executives for the possible launch of a mobile-phone company next year. Headhunters acting for Disney have approached potential managers working for existing mobile-network operators. The move apes an initiative under development in America where Disney is working with Sprint, a leading mobile company.

    Disney would be risking controversy by entering the mobile market in Britain because its service could be seen as appealing to children; the UK mobile-phone industry has agreed not to market explicitly to children for fear they are more likely to suffer from prolonged exposure to radio waves.

    However, millions of under-18s in Britain use mobile phones, making the “no marketing” stance somewhat irrelevant.

    In America, the company has presented Disney Mobile as a service for families, but critics suggest many of its characters would inevitably appeal to young children.

    Disney declined to confirm its plans. In a statement from its internet group, it said: “We constantly look at business opportunities in other markets around the world, but there are no announcements to be made
    regarding the UK.”

    Disney already runs a website, Disneymobile.co.uk, offering ringtones, wallpapers and games for mobile phones.

    Current offerings include 101 Dalmatians, The Jungle Book and Mickey Mouse, as well as The Incredibles and Finding Nemo.

    In Japan, Disney is one of the biggest vendors of content to users of i-mode, the mobile entertainment and commerce service developed by NTT DoCoMo. O2 has recently introduced i-mode to Britain.

    Disney is not thought to have agreed a network deal with one of the UK operators.

    Virgin Mobile, backed by Sir Richard Branson, pioneered the concept of a “virtual” network operator, with calls and text traffic travelling over T-Mobile”s infrastructure.

    Last week, Virgin Mobile announced a planned move into France through a joint venture with Carphone Warehouse and Orange. Branson also intends to make a R500m (£42m) investment in a joint venture with Cell C, the third-biggest operator in South Africa.

    However, not all virtual operators have found the business easy. Stelios Haji-Ioannou”s Easy Mobile has struggled to attract more than 20,000 customers after a botched launch earlier this year.

    Its Danish backer, TDC, has replaced the initial management, Frank Rasmussen and Sandy Munro.

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