And there goes another one. Engadget reports that Disney Mobile will cease its operations as of December 31. The struggling carrier will join Amp’d Mobile and Mobile ESPN in the dustbin of small Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) that licensed bandwidth from the big names like Verizon Wireless and Sprint, at what proved to be too high a price.
“MVNOs have generally had a tough time navigating through the dog-eat-dog world of profitable wireless service, and Disney Mobile was dogged from the very beginning with tough competition on kid-friendly features and hardware from larger rivals and a dearth of quality handsets.”
These mobile media-focused efforts had their hearts in the right place. But we think that the (usually quite good) media packages fare better as options on mainstream carriers, rather than forcing people to sign up with specialty carriers that only use certain handsets. Plus, the ever-looming reality of harsh cancellation fees–sometimes over $200–mean that most customers interested in MVNOs won’t want to pay to get out of their current contract in order to join one anyway.
Disney Mobile’s demise leaves just Helio and Virgin Mobile as the two remaining, significant MVNOs in the U.S.
Disney Mobile, R.I.P.: 2006 – 2007 [Engadget]