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Disney Mobile falls by the wayside

The collapse of Disney Mobile has been talked about since the demise of Amp’d. It started out as ruminations — writers wondering if the whole MVNO model is flawed beyond repair. That lasted most of the summer. Just last week, Disney CEO Tom Stagg himself spoke of the uncertain nature of Disney Mobile. At the end of his speech, he hinted that if the business model wasn’t working currently, they would “reevaluate [their] position.” It only took a week. Disney mobile has folded.

We’ll quote liberally from the press release:

“It’s been clear since we launched the MVNO that we were offering something both unique and useful for families that wanted to provide their kids with a mobile phone with suitable content and features while retaining a measure of control on how and when it would be used,” said Steve Wadsworth, president of the Walt Disney Internet Group. “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 U.S. 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.”

The MVNO is a difficult proposition, in our opinion, because the companies don’t put enough thought into it. Just look at kajeet. They took the time — four years — to research the market and figure out what business model would work best. Do you think Disney or Amp’d took four years to develop their MVNO plan? Of course not. They jumped in, hoping to ride the MVNO wave. But when waves crash, only the strong remain.

If the MVNO is such a difficult proposition, why did kajeet just raise $36.8 million in funding? Why is Virgin going public? Why does Tracfone continue to persist after over a decade as an MVNO? Why did Sprint buy Boost? The answers to all those questions: Because the people in charge of those operations understood the value of planning and patience.

But Disney cannot admit that. They have a public reputation to live up to, so blaming their woes on the overall concept is their cop-out.

Disney wishes to continue providing content and services in the mobile realm (who doesn’t?), and could could offer licensing deals, a la their subsidiary, ESPN. Specifically, they’d like to offer their Family Center, which acts much like kajeet’s Configurator. But in addition to setting limits on the phone, there is a GPS locator already with this program. We’re not so sure there’s a market now for parental spying — as Daniel Neal of kajeet said, “The market is still digesting location technology.”

Farewell, Disney Mobile. Hopefully you actually, you know, try in your next business endeavor, rather than diving in and hoping your brand name keeps you afloat.

[Paid Content] via the incomparable [mocoNews]