Disney, Easy and Others Looking into Becoming MVNOs
By Eric Lin, Mon Jan 26 23:45:00 GMT 2004

Based on the success of MVNOs like Virgin Mobile, it seems other youth-focused brands are considering an entrance into the wireless world. Chief amongst the rumored entrants are Disney and Easy Group.

Virgin Mobile have had a successful go at the MVNO business in both Europe and America, they have already exceeded 4 million subscribers worldwide. An article in Investor's Business Daily (found by Gizmodo) analyzing the trend that both Virgin and Boost (the other MVNO in the US) are both youth focused carriers, concludes that it would feasible for another youth focused brand like Disney to enter the market.

Instead of focusing on the branding or advertising that have made Virgin and Boost a success, IBD instead explains the financial and operational advantages (for both Virgin and Sprint whom they license their capacity from). However they do quote a consultant from inCode who warns that Disney is a large company with a very broad business, and they may not be able to focus on a single market segment enough to sell through phones.

Like Virgin, Easy Group are also diversified, but they still have a narrower target market than Disney. They too are considering entering the MVNO space. On Silicon.com, the similarities between Virgin and Easy Group (most notably the over the top antics of their chiefs) are compared. Easy Group already have a base of cost-conscious hipsters around Europe whom they could probably interest in an equally cost conscious mobile plan.

Disney have already begun to offer mobile content like ringtones and wallpaper for a number of handsets. However it is easier to target Disney fans of all ages for content than for a paid service. Who would Disney target, when their biggest fans are pre-teens (most of whom don't get phones here in the states)? Then again who would the other brands IBD mentions like Nike or Wal-Mart target? BT, onetime owner of what is now the O2 network, recently launched an MVNO (using T-Mobile) with a GBP 5 million campaign. According to the Guardian it has failed miserably, attracting less than 20,000 customers, proving that it takes more than a well recognized brand and some crafty advertising to make a successful MVNO- not that Virgin and Boost don't have crafty advertising though. In fact, they have some of the best around.