Is that ESPN in Your Pocket...?
Today, ESPN announced that it will launch ESPN The Cellphone* (link via PaidContent.org).
In the process, it will become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). When a company becomes an MVNO, they partner with a cellphone carrier (in ESPN's case, Sprint), and piggyback off the carrier's existing network infrastructure to provide mobile service to its customers. Virgin Mobile USA is an example of an existing MVNO; I believe I heard rumors that 7-11 is also getting into the MVNO game.
In any case, this is very exciting news. One product-related advantage of an MVNO is that a company chooses its constaints because it can choose the handsets that will support its software applications, and can then make its software apps available exclusively to its MVNO customers. I have played with demo ESPN Mobile phones with some of the applications loaded up (none of which I can blog about yet, sorry) and the guys and gals in Mobile will be taking full advantage of their chosen platform. The demo apps, in two words, are ridiculously cool.
I'm a big sports fan, and once ESPN Mobile hits the market--sometime in 2005, according to the Yahoo! article--I know I'm going to wonder how I ever lived without ESPN in my pocket, wherever I go.
* - Not its official name.