With more than 200 million cell phone subscribers out of a population of nearly 300 million, and having penetrated nearly two-thirds of American households, the wireless companies are giving serious thoughts to find new turfs so that their growth numbers do not saturate in the near future. And one surefire solution which all of them seem to have stumbled upon is: target youth and those in the teenage bracket. America presently has a population of nearly 42 million of customers or potential customers who are in the age group of 10 to 19. Wireless and even handset manufacturers are looking at this group as panacea of their growth concerns.
Alltel Corp’s group president Kevin Beebe makes no bones on this issue. “The teen and 20-something segment affords the wireless business a great opportunity,” he says matter-of-factly. The rationale is quite understandable. According to findings of research firms Jupiter Research and GfK NOP Technology, only 50% of youths in America are presently using wireless phones. And that leaves a huge vacant space of over 20 million potential customers which wireless companies are eyeing to capitalize upon. And for this efforts have been set afoot to offer add-on services which consummate with the preferences of this section of phone users. For instance, teens have been found to be using their phones for data transfer more than the adults. E-mail, text messaging, sharing photos, downloading ringtones, etc. these are the functionalities they are particularly addicted to. “Fifty percent of teens are downloading that content on a regular basis,” says Ben Rogers, vice president of GfK NOP Technology. And that’s a space which provides wireless companies to thrive upon in the near future.
In fact, to grasp these teens and youths, wireless service providers have also begun providing discounts on family plans wherein new members from the family can be added within the fold of a composite connectivity to the entire family. And more often than not, new members would mean teens or growing youths of the family. The additional voice service to the new member of the family, in fact, could be provided at a rate as low as $10 monthly.
The wireless companies presently are very optimistic about their “go after youth” strategy. Says a senior official of Cingular, “I don’t see any reason why we don’t have a few years of good growth ahead of us.” And this practically means that bonanza offered to youth phone customers will be galore in the months ahead.
A buck is a buck to cell phone companies, even if the use of cell phones at a young age could harm your childs health.