Feeds

Disney scraps UK mobile plan

Parental concerns hold back the mouse

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Disney has ditched plans to start a UK virtual mobile network (MVNO), blaming adverse changes in the retail environment for its decision

O2, which was to provide the service for Disney, said Disney content will still be made available, but there won't be Mickey Mouse phones in the foreseeable future.

Part of Disney's problem is that, in the UK, the brand is more associated with young children; official government advice is that children under 16 should only use a phone for "essential" calls - although what's essential to a 15-year-old might not resonate with the rest of us.

Parents in the UK are concerned about the safety of children using mobiles, and they are going to need a very compelling argument to put those concerns aside.

In the US, Disney has successfully launched its MVNO network, based around giving parents control of their children's spending, and the ability to track their kids through their phone handsets.

Tracking children has proved more contentious in the UK where the Data Protection Act guarantees privacy, even for children.

According to OUT-LAW.com, by convention children under 12 have to rely on their legal guardian to give permission, but between 12 and 16 the child must give their permission too, and it seems unlikely that many 15-year-olds would be interested in their parents knowing their location at all times.

Interestingly, it seems that tracking someone without their permission is not illegal, although intercepting the mandatory messages telling them they are being tracked (which are sent at random) would be.

Enabling close parental control of spending might appeal, but pre-paid systems (so pervasive in Europe, but comparatively rare in the US) allow children to safely manage their own spending. So it is far from clear how Disney would have been able to sell themselves to children, or, more importantly, their parents. And if British children under 12 aren't going to use Disney phones, what hope for the MVNO?

According to a recent report from Strategy Analytics, the only MVNOs in the US to get significant customer numbers have concentrated on pre-paid services, which appeal to the youth market. By concentrating on pre-paid they have clearly differentiated their offering, and market differentiation is what's needed.

Innovative services and pricing will attract customers, while teddy-bear-shaped phones and big media brands will not convince anyone that an eight-year-old needs a mobile phone. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.