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June 12, 2006 at 2:16 PM

Wireless makes tracks for kids

Three new wireless phone services that came out today are jumping on the kid bandwagon.

T-Mobile USA said it is offering kidConnect; Verizon Wireless is starting to offer a tracking service and Disney Mobile is beginning to sell its mobile phone service.

WIth kidConnect, parents can keep their child’s bill to $20 a month. For that, the kid has unlimited weekend minutes and free calling to other T-Mobile subscribers, and 50 whenever mintues. After 50 mintues, the account can be replenished online, by phone or at a T-Mobile retail store. It also has some lock down features that helps prevent kids from signing up through the handset for optional services that have recurring charges.

The announcement comes on the heels of Verizon Wireless launch of Chaperone, a child-tracking service. That comes after Sprint Nextel launched a child-tracking service in April.

Location-based services could give a boost to the GPS cellphone market, which has been slow to take off, according to ABI Research.

Also today, Disney Mobile started selling its service today, which brings together both a child-tracking service with a bundle of minutes and monitored rate plans. It’s $60 a month for two phones and a long list of options. The family features include prohibiting phone usage during certain hours and monitoring who a child can call.

“By combining tracking and cellular technologies, wireless carriers could jumpstart what has been, to date, a sluggish segment of the GPS market,” said analyst Ken Hyers.

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