Feeds

Disney scraps UK mobile plan

Parental concerns hold back the mouse

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.