Disney Takes Twice Failed MVNO Concept To Japan

from the going-in-the-wrong-direction? dept

Having already failed spectacularly (twice!) to offer mobile phone service in the US, Disney has apparently decided that Japan is the perfect place to try out its MVNO option for the third time. It’s going to use Softbank’s mobile network and try to convince people it’s worth totally changing mobile phone service providers because (wait for it…) its “famous characters” will be associated with the handsets, and Disney movies will be available for download. Has the company has learned nothing from its failures in the US? Obviously, Japan is a very different culture — especially when it comes to mobile services — but if the entire differentiator is Disney’s characters and movies, why not partner with all of the mobile operators already dominant in Japan? Getting people to completely switch providers just so they can be associated with Mickey Mouse seems like a pretty flimsy business plan. Success stories in the mobile operator market in Japan have usually centered around offering a wide range of more useful applications or by providing cheaper, better services (or better phones). Fantasia downloads hardly seems likely to wow the Japanese market.

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Companies: disney, softbank

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Comments on “Disney Takes Twice Failed MVNO Concept To Japan”

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Keith says:

Some of the GPS features of their last attempt in the States were “interesting”. But the bottom line was they were a lot more for a family plan than most providers. I’ll pay more if I get more, not because it has Disney stamped on it.

What Disney should have done was worked with Steve Jobs (their largest shareholder) to come up with a unique phone…. And then created a service around it.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Softbank already is established

Softbank IS one of the biggest cell phone carriers in Japan. They took over the Vodafone operation about a year ago.

Yes, but they’re not selling Disney content/apps for Softbank customers… they’re doing it as an MVNO pitching Disney as if it were a mobile operator. Softbank’s own success is meaningless here. After all, Disney’s MVNO partners in the US were quite successful, but it didn’t do a damn thing to help Disney.

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