Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Family Wireless Plans Pull in Kids, Spur Growth: "Family options have been around for a few years, but they are generating more interest as wireless operators like Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless Services Inc. have simplified them—and cut prices by as much as 50 percent. Analysts see the plans as a major force that will drive U.S. cell phone ownership above the 50 percent level, where it has been hovering for the past couple of years.

"It's a huge avenue of growth," said Legg Mason analyst Craig Mallitz. Mallitz said family plans were a big reason why far more people than expected became cell phone users in the second quarter. He expects the industry to bring on about 15 million new customers this year, up 36 percent from 11 million additions in 2002. Analysts had initially expected flat growth.

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