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Did the iPhone kill Mickey?

Disney drops special family mobile service

While Disney's largest shareholder, Steve Jobs, celebrates the success of Apple's iPhone, the Mickey Mouse creator is quietly shutting down its own kid-friendly mobile service.

The happiest place on mobile Earth is on an established carrier's service, the operator of Disney Mobile acknowledged yesterday.

Disney Mobile, launched by Walt Disney's Internet group last year, sells its own handsets and voice and data services. But the service will be shut down at the end of this year, and Disney is now looking into offering its specialized features through a major US mobile operator, according to a company press release.

Like other MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) businesses, Disney Mobile buys capacity on another mobile operator's network and resells it to consumers. The service is marketed to parents and offers specialized features such as a tracking system for childrens' phones and controls on how children use them.

Disney Mobile has offered a special line of phones for kids, with features that let parents control who children can talk to, when they can use their phones and how much they can spend on each type of service per month. The parents can make those settings via a Web browser on a PC. Using GPS (Global Positioning System) on the phones, parents can also keep track of where their children are. The service also offers content related to Disney films and other entertainment properties.


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