NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – July 6, 2005 — The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) and Sprint (NYSE: FON) today announced an agreement through which Disney will create the first national U.S. wireless phone service specifically designed for families. The service, called Disney Mobile, will use the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network and is slated to launch next year.
Disney Mobile plans to offer a comprehensive mobile service, including wireless voice service, exclusive handsets and a package of features and applications tailored to meet the unique communication needs of families. The service will also include a range of entertainment content for the family.
“Disney Mobile will combine Disney’s heritage of quality and unparalleled brand equity in the family market with Sprint’s leadership in wireless voice and data services to create an engaging and easy-to-use mobile experience,” said Steve Wadsworth, president, WDIG. “This enhanced mobile service offering will ensure Disney’s place as a leader in the family mobile market, one of the fastest growing segments of the mobile industry. We’ll be in investment mode for the next several years, but expect that over the long run this initiative will generate solid financial returns for the company.”
Disney will be responsible for all aspects of the service, including product development, distribution, marketing, customer relations, billing and other business operations.
For Sprint, a world-class provider of telecom services, the agreement with Disney complements its strong brand image as a leading retail provider and provides an opportunity for a new generation of compelling services specifically designed for families. Sprint has excelled in capitalizing on its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) strategy, with a proven track record of partnering with key national brands to expand its unique assets to more users beyond its traditional customer base.
“As one of the most powerful brands in media and entertainment, Disney Mobile will appeal to families and loyal fans who want an immediate way to enrich and personalize their wireless communications experience,” said Tim Kelly, president, Sprint Consumer Solutions. “Combining Disney’s family-friendly content and applications with the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network will help spur consumer demand for data services within this important segment.”
The newly formed Disney Mobile business is part of Walt Disney Internet Group and will be led by Senior Vice President and General Manager George Grobar, who reports to Steve Wadsworth. Grobar is a ten-year Disney veteran including recent positions as VP and GM of Disney Auctions and NASCAR Store Online, and VP with the DisneyStore.com. Prior to Disney he spent nearly a decade in finance and product planning in the computer industry.
WDIG entered the mobile arena in 2000 with the launch of Disney branded content including graphics, ring tones, games and utilities on NTT DoCoMo in Japan. It will continue to distribute its mobile content through carriers and distributors globally.
In 2004, Disney’s ESPN unit announced it would launch the first U.S. wireless phone service specifically targeted to sports fans.
Consumers can register to receive service information and updates at www.disneymobile.com
About Walt Disney Internet Group
Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) provides strategic leadership and operational management for The Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE:DIS) Internet properties including category leaders Disney.com, ESPN.com and ABCNEWS.com. A market leader in developing and distributing entertainment and informational content to new platforms, WDIG is committed to creating and delivering products for broadband distribution including: ABC News On Demand, a subscription video news service that offers the Internet’s first 24-hour, live Internet-only news channel and top ABC News programs for on demand viewing; Disney Connection; and WDIG Motion, a proprietary video technology for broadband users. Through relationships with some of the world’s largest wireless carriers, WDIG distributes content and services to wireless users under the Disney brand.
Additionally, WDIG has led the way in developing interactive content for televised programming through its Enhanced TV service. Steve Wadsworth is president of WDIG, which is headquartered in North Hollywood and has operations in Budapest, London, New York, Orlando, Fla., Seattle and Tokyo.
Sprint offers an extensive range of innovative communication products and solutions, including global IP, wireless, local and multiproduct bundles. A Fortune 100 company with more than $27 billion in annual revenues in 2004, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States’ first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network; an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone; and one of the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide wireless networks in the United States. For more information, visit www.sprint.com/mr
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
This news release includes certain estimates, projections and other forward-looking statements. Future performance cannot be ensured. Actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. The words “estimate,” “project,” “intend,” “expect,” “believe” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this news release. Disney and Sprint are not obligated to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this news release or unforeseen events. Disney and Sprint provide detailed discussions of risk factors in their periodic SEC filings, including those identified in Disney’s and Sprint’s Annual Reports on Form 10-K.