Sunday, September 21, 2003

Wireless carriers embrace truism: Youth are the future: "Alexa Miller, 17, got her first mobile phone -- a snazzy purple one with a digital camera that hooks in -- when she was 15. That was already behind most of her friends, the Overland Park teen-ager said.

"Younger siblings will be armed with the wireless devices even earlier. Kim Miller, Alexa's mother, said she'll let her two younger daughters have mobile phones at 11 or 12 years old. 'It's a good way to keep tabs on them,' Kim Miller said.

"Somewhere, the CEOs of America's largest wireless carriers are smiling. Although they are not saying so outwardly, the wireless companies have become fixated on these young subscribers.

"That's because only 28 percent of 13- to 19-year-olds have a mobile device, according to IDC, a researcher based in Framingham, Mass.; penetration exceeds 50 percent in older groups. In addition, this group of teens and preteens -- part of a demographic echo made of baby boomer offspring -- is a population bubble on par with baby boomers themselves.

"That presents a huge opportunity for subscriber growth as it begins to slow industrywide. Just as the Happy Meal created a generation of fast-food eaters, the camera phone with customized ringers and two-way text messaging aims to create a generation of heavy wireless users."

[...]

I rent from a family with two children, one a newly 13-year old. Guess what she got for her birthday!

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