Not Much Room To Sell a Kid a Cell Phone

trio with phones JIU.jpgCell phone companies targeting younger teens might need to change their marketing approach over the next few years. According to a new report from MultiMedia Intelligence, there aren’t a whole lot of 12- to 17-year-olds left in the US without a mobile device. At the end of 2007, more than 16 million kids in that age group had a cell phone, up 12% from 2006. Don’t expect this type of growth to continue, the market researcher warns, because forecasts predict only an additional million subscribers through 2012 due to near market saturation.

One way for carriers to gain more new young subscribers would be to market to the even younger crowd. MultiMedia Intelligence found that more than half of teens have a cell phone by the time they turn 13 and become an actual teenager.

Frank Dickson, MultiMedia’s chief research officer, notes that the teen market has been the sweet spot for wireless operators, not only because of the number of subscribers, but also because the ARPU for teens is higher than the overall mobile market. “Teens simply use their phones to do more, from text messaging to purchasing premium content,” he said. “However, pricing pressures and teen cellular saturation are bringing an end to the teen cellular gold rush.”

(Image credit: Jupiterimages Unlimited)