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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Disney offers teen-tracker mobile
Kids using mobile phones
The children's mobile phone market is growing rapidly
Disney is launching a US service that will enable parents to monitor how their children use their mobile phones.

They will be able to track voice, text, video and picture messages and set limits on their children's calls.

The phone will also allow parents to locate where their children are via a global positioning system.

The entertainment giant hopes to target what is a niche but rapidly expanding market of mobile phone using children between 10 and 15 years old.

"This is still a growth stage market," said George Grobar, general manager of Disney Mobile.

Disney is targeting 20 to 30 million children with the new service.

There is certainly a big market for teenagers and parents adding them to their [mobile] phone plan
Julie Ask, analyst at Jupiter Research

The decision follows market research showing that parents wanted to be able to find out where their children are at specific moments and to talk to them.

'Big market for teenagers'

While the US mobile phone market is well established with 70% of the population already owning a phone, this figure is lower among teenagers.

About 45% to 50% of 13 year olds have a mobile phone, according to technology analysts Jupiter Research.

Just under two thirds of parents pay for their teenagers mobile phones.

"There is certainly a big market for teenagers and parents adding them to their [mobile] phone plan," said Jupiter analyst Julie Ask.

The new phones for parents, which will be sold over the internet, are expected to be available from June.

Disney has not yet revealed what it will charge for this service, but monthly fees from other providers are as little as $10 per month for each new family member.

This is the second specialised mobile phone service Disney is developing. The company launched a sports-based service in February at the annual American football extravaganza, the Super Bowl.

Mobile phone company Nokia predicted that the global mobile phone market will increase by 15% this year.

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