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Mickey Mouse MVNO shuts shop

Walt Disney’s branded MVNO in the US said Thursday night that it will shut down late this year.

In a statement, the company said it plans to explore a new business model for its content and services that might include a partnership with a major US carrier.

The Disney MVNO marketed a tool known as the Family Centre suite, which allows parents to track a child’s GPS-enabled handset on a map, limit when and how the child’s phone is used, and to set limits on expenditures in terms of voice and data.

This withdrawal from market marks a third fumble for Disney in the MAVNO space. In September last year, Disney backed ESPN Mobile called it a day, after failing to get a strong enough foothold in the US market.

The service provider, which some analysts said was one of the most promising MVNO launches of the last year, targeted a specific market with unique sporting content. But the operator fell short of its targets.

In the same month Disney also killed off launch plans for a UK MVNO, while rival US MVNO Amp’d filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June of this year.

Steve Wadsworth, president of the Walt Disney Internet Group, said: “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 US 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.”

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