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Buying Cell Phone Service From Disney

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, April 20, 2006

Buying cell phone service from Disney. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's called Disney Mobile…a new cell phone network that will launch in June. Walt Disney…did not go out and build its own wireless network. Instead it will use Sprint's cellular system….as what's called an MVNO…a mobile virtual network operator. There are plenty of others…including one launched by ESPN…also owned by Disney. So who will want service from Disney Mobile? Senior VP George Grobar…

"The focus is really around focusing on family and putting family at the center of everything we do. From the whole end to end experience. From the point of activation, through billing and invoicing, through the software and handset applications. The heart of the service is going to be a family center that has tools for parents with everything from setting allowances for your kids for voice minutes, text messages, content downloads. And you'll get an alert on your handset the minute they hit that limit. So we're trying to avoid that month end surprise that parents go through. Another service we're going to have is a family locator. And family members, parents, can locate their kid with the push of a button, get an address location back, accuracy level and get a map to verify the locations and the surroundings."

You have to wonder if kids are going to want to carry those cell phones around once mom and dad can use them as tracking devices. Sprint has announced plans to offer the service to its customers….and Verizon Wireless says it will have a similar feature available by the end of the year. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.