Tokyo – Disney-branded mobile phones and content services are expected to hit the market in Japan in spring 2008, following the announcement of a deal between Walt Disney Co. Japan and Softbank Mobile Corp. Disney has been offering mobile content services in Japan for over a year, claiming 3.5 million registered users. Handsets and Disney Mobile services will be available at Softbank’s 2,400 stores nationwide and for Softbank Mobile’s subscriber base of around 17.2 million. Under the terms of the deal with Softbank Mobile, Disney will lease telecom networks to operate its Disney Mobile service, becoming Japan’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) – a company that buys capacity from another firm to provide mobile services. President of Disney Japan, Paul Candland, said this move was spurred by the success of Disney mobile content in Japan thus far.
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