August 13th, 2006
Game Over for Disney's Plans For a UK Mobile Service
By Andrew Murray-Watson
Disney, the US media and entertainment group, has ditched plans to launch a mobile phone operator in the UK. The company confirmed yesterday that it had postponed the launch of the new service indefinitely. It had intended to have handsets in the shops in time for the key Christmas trading period. Disney blamed a difficult retail market for its decision. It said: “Distribution outlets have been consolidating and there is now increased competition. However, we will keep one eye on the landscape.”
Disney intended its UK mobile phone service, carried over the O2 network, to be aimed at families with children. The company was to use standard handsets, pre-loaded with Disney content and games. It was also to allow parents to customise their children’s handsets so they could dial only pre-approved phone numbers.
However, the plans ran into criticism from parents and consumer groups, including the National Consumer Council. They claimed Disney should not be trying to market mobile phones to children as young as eight.
Disney had already appointed an executive team to oversee the launch of the UK mobile service.