Disney and Softbank Cellphone Deal is Anything but Mickey Mouse

Japan, prepare for mouse-to-mouse communication!Japan, prepare for mouse-to-mouse communication!
Want a goofy ringtone? No, a "Goofy" ringtone! Japan may get exactly that when Disney - home of Mickey, Minnie, Winnie and yes, Goofy - and Softbank launch their new mobile phone service next spring!

Don't pooh-pooh the power of Disney's brand!Don't pooh-pooh the power of Disney's brand!
Disney products and characters are hugely popular in Japan, and the nation's myriad lovers of "kawaii" (cuteness) have made Mickey, Winnie, Snoopy et al very much at home. Disney, the second-ranking US entertainment company, has long sought to expand its reach in Japan yet has found the country's saturated cellphone market to be too tough a nut to crack - until now.

Rather than start from scratch, Disney has partnered with Japan's Softbank to launch a new mobile phone service in early 2008. By piggybacking on Softbank's well-established network, Disney saves the huge cost of building base stations, then initiating and expanding a brand new network in a mature mobile marketplace.

What does Softbank get out of it? Japan's number 3 carrier will be able to increase revenues by leasing unused frequencies to Disney, for one. Perhaps more importantly, the two companies will be working together to offer consumers animated downloadable content and familiar Disney characters on new handsets. It's a small world after all! (via Reuters)

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer

Mar 28, 2008
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