updated 7/6/2005 11:27:06 AM ET 2005-07-06T15:27:06

Walt Disney Co., the world's second-largest media conglomerate, said Wednesday it will launch a national U.S. wireless phone service next year designed for families.

The service, called Disney Mobile, will use the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network. Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint Corp. is one of the nation's top cell phone carriers and the largest non-Bell local phone company in the U.S.

Disney Mobile plans to offer wireless voice service, exclusive handsets and a package of features and applications targeted toward families. The company said the service also will include a range of entertainment content.

Walt Disney Internet Group 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. In 2004, Disney's ESPN unit announced it would launch the first U.S. wireless phone service specifically targeted to sports fans.

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.

Disney will be responsible for all aspects of the service, including product development, distribution, marketing, customer relations, billing and other business operations.

Steve Wadsworth, president of Walt Disney Internet Group, said, "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."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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