US Carriers Smell Fresh (Young) Meat
By Eric Lin, Mon Apr 26 22:00:00 GMT 2004

Confirmation of rumors that Nextel will expand its Boost brand to seven additional markets beyond California and Nevada have prompted new articles on Boost and marketing wireless service to youth.

In less than a year, Boost has acquired over 250,000 subscribers in California and Nevada alone through aggressive advertising, athlete sponsorship and reasonable pricing. Virgin Mobile has gained just over a million users nationwide in 18 months. Statistically Boost has a higher market penetration, but neither of these youth-focused MVNO is doing poorly. In fact, top carriers like Cingular are seeking to emulate the MVNOs' success in the youth market according to today's Washington Post.

The Post actually spent time with kids as well as marketing experts, doing the homework for any technology company who wants to capture the youth market.
Intelecard recommends that if Boost is to compete with Virgin over the long term, they must go nationwide. The Post's revelation that they will launch in seven new markets this year is a start, but Virgin still has a much larger market. The only barrier we can see preventing Boost from full scale launch is the cost of putting the Boost branded iDen handsets in more stores. They already advertising in nationwide media and sports events. Intelecard is also concerned about Boost's large marketing expenditures. Virgin already has a well known brand and doesn't need sponsorships or brand-building advertising. When Boost gains brand recognition, they'll be able to reduce ad spending. However maintaining sponsorships should be an important tool for keeping a finger on the pulse just as Virgin uses their alpha teen focus groups. Trends change quickly and youth-focused companies need to stay up to date.