Disney Mobile is shutting down, PaidContent reports. This is not a shocker: Two weeks ago Disney CFO Tom told the Merrill media conference Disney was “evaluating” the service’s future. More broadly, it’s more surprising to hear about “virtual” mobile networks that succeed: In addition to Disney Mobile, Disney has also tried and abandoned an ESPN-branded network; bankrupt Amp’d Mobile died in July. And Helio is burning cash. The lone exception: Virgin Mobile, which is preparing for an IPO.
Disney says it will shut down Disney Mobile later this year and may try selling Disney-branded services via an established wireless carrier. This makes sense: Just like Helio and Amp’d, Disney faced the expensive and difficult challenge of selling handsets and service plans via retail outlets. But unlike other failed or failing MVNOs, Disney has a brand that’s potentially very valuable for a carrier, which should give it some leverage. Release