Sprint adds Disney content to 3G service


Sprint has announced that content from Disney and ESPN will be available through its Vision CDMA2000 1x network. Users will be able to download a selection of Java games, ringtones, animations and images to their handsets.

The content, which will be derived from traditional Disney and ESPN brands and services, will be charged on a per download basis, with ringtones costing from USD 1 – USD 2 and games between USD 3 and USD 4. The downloads will be billed direct to the customer’s monthly statement by Sprint.

Disney has been providing mobile content in Japan for some time, offering a selection of downloadable cartoons, ringtones and screen savers through monthly subscription services. “The components needed to really develop the wireless data market are lining up, and PCS Vision is an important step,” said Larry Shapiro, executive vice president of business development and operations, Walt Disney Internet Group. “The content we can deploy on next generation platforms, like PCS Vision, is a major advancement – 16-chord enhanced ringers, animation and Java games. It will show consumers why they’ve been hearing so much about this new generation of wireless services.”

“We are pleased to work with the Walt Disney Internet Group in providing Sprint wireless customers with their favorite Disney and ESPN content,” said Chip Novick, vice president of consumer marketing for the PCS Division of Sprint. “With PCS Vision, customers can now personalize their Vision-capable PCS Phones with screen savers of popular Disney characters, Disney and ESPN ringers, and play graphically-rich Disney and ESPN/EXPN games on Vision-capable phones with full-color screens.”

Insight

Sprint needs to form more of these agreements if it is to make Vision a true mass-market consumer proposition. Ringtones and screensavers are currently the most popular services with end users and ones people are willing to pay for. Disney and its ESPN brand will be popular with mainstream US consumers, but the real innovations will come when Sprint starts opening up its billing platform to more innovative mobile content houses. This will enable young and fashion-conscious consumers to access cutting edge content which differentiates them from their peers – a key driver behind purchasing decisions.

The addition of Java games is also welcome and will do much to demonstrate the impressive capabilities of the colour-screen handsets Sprint is issuing to subscribers. The pricing model, whereby users pay a one-off fee to download the content, is much preferable to the time-limited services offered by O2 in the UK.


Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.
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