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September 15, 2008

CTIA and Harris Reveal How Teens Influence Mobile Market

CTIA (News - Alert) - The Wireless Association, in conjunction with Harris Interactive, released a report called "Teenagers: A Generation Unplugged."

A study was conducted online among 2000 teenagers across the U.S. who use mobile phones. More than 100 questions were asked on mobile phone usage, attitude, desires and aspiration for the future mobile and communications industry. A growing wireless segment, teens view their cell phones as more than just an accessory.
"A quarter of a century of wireless innovation, new products and customized features has transformed our everyday lives," said Steve Largent, president and CEO, CTIA - The Wireless Association. "Teens are a pivotal segment of wireless users. As the first generation born into a wireless society, how they use their cell phones and what they expect of these devices in the future will drive the next wave of innovation in our industry."
According to the Harris Interactive (News - Alert) study, after clothing, the next prominence is given to mobile phones, outranking jewelry, watches and shoes. Mobile has become a status symbol among teenagers in the present generation.
Four out of every five teens (17 million) carrying a wireless device (a 40 percent increase since 2004), it's not surprising that six in ten teens (57 percent) credit mobility for improving their quality of life. Over half of the respondents (52 percent) agree the cell phone has become a new form of entertainment and one-third of teens currently play games on their phone. On a more serious note, 80 percent of teens surveyed said their cell phone provided a sense of security while on the go, confirming the cell phone has become their mobile safety net when needing a ride (79 percent), getting important information (51 percent), or just helping out someone in trouble (35 percent).
"Teens have created a new form of communication. We call it texting, but in essence it is a reflection of how teens want to communicate to match their lifestyles. It is all about multitasking, speed, privacy and control," said Joseph Porus, vice president & chief architect, technology group, Harris Interactive. "Teens in this study are crying for personalization and control of exactly what a wireless device or plan can do for them."
“Teens expect mobile technology to change the social fabric of their world and they have laid the future at the feet of this technology like no other," Porus added.
 Porus also said, "To our knowledge, no other industry carries these hopes; while teens are interested in cars and music and movies, it is mobility that will change their future!"
The Harris Interactive study highlights on future trend occurrence as to what teens would like to change about wireless services and devices. Eighty percent of them expect secured data access to the user only, 66 percent expect accessibility to personal health records and 63 percent want to bring users closer to global issues impacting teens' world.
The study found that teens are excited and open-minded about the wireless possibilities. The survey found that teens' ideal future mobile device would feature five applications - phone, MP3 player, GPS, laptop computer and video player.
Teenagers would be more than happy with shock and water proof, endless power, privacy screen, flexible material with different shapes and sizes and artificial intelligence in their mobile handsets.
“In the future, mobility for teens means mobile banking, mobile voting, location based services, personal entertainment - the sky is the limit for how mobile our lifestyles can be," Largent said. "We've certainly come a long way in 25 years and expect teens to be a growth driver for the industry and have a major impact on the wireless landscape for years to come."

Jyothi Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jyothi's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Eve Sullivan


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