No Go for MVNO

I was curious if Mobile ESPN was going to have an impact. Apparently not.

ESPN is closing down its cell phone company for sports fans after less than a year, planning instead to forge deals in which it provides content to other wireless operators.
The planned shutdown of Mobile ESPN marks the first major bust in a rush of specialized wireless ventures targeting niche audiences they contend are underserved by the Cingulars and Verizons of the world.
ESPN was quick to stress that its change in strategy had no bearing on Disney Mobile, another ambitious foray into the cellular market by parent company Walt Disney Co. that was officially launched just recently.
Disney has so far invested a combined $150 million in developing Mobile ESPN and Disney Mobile, two of the highest-profile and most-heavily marketed efforts to create an “MVNO,” or mobile virtual network operator.
An MVNO doesn’t have its own wireless network. Instead, it puts its brand on another wireless operator’s service — whose name is hidden from the customer — and offers its own lineup of handsets and calling plans.
Going forward, Mobile ESPN will cease being an MVNO and instead seek to provide its sports scores, news and video highlights to other wireless companies with large customer bases.

Posted by on September 29th, 2006 at 9:18 am

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