Sprint (NYSE:S) MVNO Zact (a 2013 Fierce 15 winner) is partnering with Disney to launch a smartphone aimed at kids and loaded with customized Disney content, breathing life into the idea of a Disney mobile experience six years after Disney shuttered its own MVNO.
Disney is partnering with Sprint MVNO Zact.
Zact said the phone, the ZTE-made Awe, will be available for $99 for a limited time this holiday season, a discount from its regular price of $169. Zact said the phone will come pre-loaded with apps from Disney, including the hit titles Toy Story: Smash It! and custom movie-making app Disney Infinity: Action! The service will also feature access to content such as Disney Video, Disney Music, and Disney ¡Ajá!, which is Disney's Spanish language destination.
Instead of using a major carrier as an outlet for its content, Disney is turning to Zact, a startup MVNO. Based on cloud-based billing software from parent company ItsOn, Zact offers a service that lets customers dynamically adjust their plans on the go, adding or dropping voice minutes, text messages or data as they see fit. Zact's service, which runs on Sprint Nextel's 1xRTT, EV-DO and LTE networks, has a dashboard that lets users change the number of voice minutes, messages and data they want per month.
There is no limit to the number of Zact-enabled devices a user can add to an account, and once added, customers can allocate and customize the amount of voice, texting and data assigned to each person or device. Customers pay a $4.99 monthly maintenance charge per device, but there are no additional fees for sharing.
Importantly, if a user does not use all that they intended with their selected plan, Zact will automatically credit money back to a user's account for the difference between that plan and the least expensive plan that matches the customer's usage.
Zact said the Awe runs Android 4.1 and has a 4-inch display and a 5-megapixel camera. In addition, Zact said it will bundle a free, four-month "child starter plan" with the phone, which includes 100 minutes, 100 texts and 100 MB data. After four months, customers will need to choose one of Zact's plans.
The plans also come with parental controls that let customers set pre-approved contact lists and app lists for their kids' phones. Parents can either use a Zact-enabled phone to control their child's phone, or they can download a free app called Zact Control from iTunes or Google Play which gives them a remote control to turn off the phone, manage their plan or control access.
Although Zact is billing the new phone as "a first smartphone of its kind for kids," other companies such as Kajeet have long targeted the kid market, including with smartphones.
- see this Zact site
- see this Zact release
- see this GigaOM article
- see this PhoneScoop article
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