One MVNO Down, Goodbye ESPN Mobile

by Bruce Stewart

The MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) business has seen a lot of challengers but no real winners beyond niche markets, at least here in the U.S. And now one of the bigger efforts is giving up on the MVNO model as ESPN Mobile will shut off its services as of the end of the year and is halting all sales immediately.

After one year in business and an extensive marketing campaign, Wireless Week cites rumors that ESPN Mobile had only drummed up a mere 10,000 subscribers. Realizing that the model of running a mobile operator without owning the infrastructure is a tricky one (especially with $500 handsets), ESPN will instead try to license its mobile application and content to other wireless carriers. Which probably would have made a lot more sense for a content provider like ESPN in the first place.