Family Plans Boost Mobile Growth

Mobile phone subscription growth is picking up pace in the family plan category in North America. A group of reports issued by the Yankee Group reveal findings from a series mobile user surveys.

Within the U.S., 54 percent of adult mobile users subscribe through a family plan. In 2005, about 49 percent of adult subscribers were on a family plan, while in Canada that figure is 31 percent.

The younger component of group plans, teens 13 to 17 years of age, are taking up mobile usage in numbers. Eighty-one percent of all teens are on a family plan, up from 75 percent in 2004. The findings on teen usage are part of the “U.S. Mobile User Teen Survey,” also from the Yankee Group.

Findings from the group’s survey of Canadian wireless subscribers shows dissention among Canadian mobile subscribers. Wireless plans up North are subject to high service prices, longer contract terms, and many lack nationwide calling options.

New and existing wireless plan customers in the U.S. use carrier Web sites to research higher-end handsets, and purchase entry-level models, according to data released by comScore Networks

Many mobile users go to the Web to research trendy models like Motorola RAZR handsets; Palm Treo models; and the Motorola PEBL. The newest handset of interest, the Motorola Q, brought just over 100,000 unique visitors to Verizon Wireless’ product page in the second half of May. Verizon is the sole provider of the model for a limited time.

While mobile users research pricy handsets on the product page of a wireless carrier’s site, low-cost and no-cost models make up the majority of phones sold through the online channel.

Yankee Group data are part of a series of surveys of the U.S. and Canadian wireless markets. ComScore findings are derived from its global panel of more than 2 million consumers who opted in to a program that captures the Web-wide browsing and transactional behavior of participants.

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