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Disney Turns Off Mobile Phone Service Aimed At Families

Walt Disney Co. is shutting down its mobile phone service that enables parents to monitor their children's phone usage or restrict the times of day or the days of the week when the phones work. The phones also use a global positioning system that enables parents to track a child's whereabouts. Launched in June 2006, Disney Mobile will close at the end of the year.

The decision -- coming a year after Disney suspended a similar niche offering, Mobile ESPN -- illustrates the challenges of competing with national wireless carriers that own their networks. Disney leased its network capacity from Sprint Nextel.

Disney was counting on its brand name to attract customers, but a rapidly changing market eclipsed its added services. Major carriers -- such as Verizon Wireless and even Sprint -- stole its thunder by rolling out similar child-finder services and other family-friendly features. It also struggled to get broad retail distribution of its phones.



Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times »

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