According to the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, there were more than 148.5 million U.S. wireless subscribers as of the first week in August 2003 – representing more than 7.7 million additions since the end of 2002 and 20 million more than there were at the end of 2001.
This continued wireless swell was responsible for generating more than $76.5 million in annualized service revenue, employing nearly 200,000 workers, and contributing to the $584 billion in global wireless revenues expected by 2007. Eastern Europe will bring $4.6 billion to the global prediction.
Further adding to the complete wireless revenue picture is research from Strategy Analytics that predicts the mobile ringtone market to practically double by 2008 to $4 billion. The ringtone surge is likely propelled by the younger mobile phone owner – a demographic that is becoming a formidable wireless segment.
In fact, a Telephia, Inc. survey of 50,000 wireless subscribers and non-subscribers revealed that new subscribers in 2003 are 60 percent more likely to be young adults, and Wireless World Forum found that a total of 104 million mobile phones are owned by those aged 5-to-24 in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States.
Wireless World Forum expects the current 44 percent penetration rate will rise to 57 percent by 2006 for this age group.
Younger mobile phone users are among the largest group of cord-cutters – individuals who have replaced their landline phones with wireless handsets. The Yankee Group found that 12 percent of U.S. 18-to-24-year-olds have cut the cord, compared to just 4 percent of those over aged 24 who have abandoned their landline.
For those who have not yet cut the cord, there are indications that wireless will become the dominant means of communications for 18-to-24-year-olds, with another 28 percent planning to cut the cord over the next 5 years.
“The mobile phone has become the essential means of communications, making the landline phone a supplemental and increasingly non-essential item, particularly among young adults and college students who are often not home and who frequently change address,” says Linda Barrabee, Yankee Group Wireless/Mobile United States senior analyst. “Young adults are leading this movement because they seek to stay connected and are more open to changing traditional communications habits.”
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