The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) and Sprint today announced an agreement through which Disney will create the first national U.S. wireless phone service specifically designed for families. The service, called Disney Mobile, will use the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network and is slated to launch next year.
Disney Mobile plans to offer a comprehensive mobile service, including wireless voice service, exclusive handsets and a package of features and applications tailored to meet the unique communication needs of families. The service will also include a range of entertainment content for the family.
"Disney Mobile will combine Disney's heritage of quality and unparalleled brand equity in the family market with Sprint's leadership in wireless voice and data services to create an engaging and easy-to-use mobile experience," said Steve Wadsworth, president, WDIG. "This enhanced mobile service offering will ensure Disney's place as a leader in the family mobile market, one of the fastest growing segments of the mobile industry. We'll be in investment mode for the next several years, but expect that over the long run this initiative will generate solid financial returns for the company."
Disney will be responsible for all aspects of the service, including product development, distribution, marketing, customer relations, billing and other business operations.
For Sprint, the agreement with Disney provides an opportunity for a new generation of compelling services specifically designed for families. Sprint has excelled in capitalizing on its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) strategy, with a proven track record of partnering with key national brands to expand its unique assets to more users beyond its traditional customer base.
"As one of the most powerful brands in media and entertainment, Disney Mobile will appeal to families and loyal fans who want an immediate way to enrich and personalize their wireless communications experience," said Tim Kelly, president, Sprint Consumer Solutions. "Combining Disney's family-friendly content and applications with the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network will help spur consumer demand for data services within this important segment."
The newly formed Disney Mobile business is part of Walt Disney Internet Group and will be led by Senior Vice President and General Manager George Grobar, who reports to Steve Wadsworth. Grobar is a ten-year Disney veteran, including recent positions as VP and GM of Disney Auctions and NASCAR Store Online, and VP with the DisneyStore.com. Prior to Disney he spent nearly a decade in finance and product planning in the computer industry.
WDIG entered the mobile arena in 2000 with the launch of Disney branded content, including graphics, ring tones, games and utilities, on NTT DoCoMo in Japan. It will continue to distribute its mobile content through carriers and distributors globally.