In-Stat/MDR Recommends Carriers Cater to Kids
By Eric Lin, Wed Feb 04 23:45:00 GMT 2004

Today In-Stat/MDR released a report suggesting that US carriers set their sights on the youth market as their next target. Citing the success of Boost and Virgin Mobile, US analysts have finally realized what European and Asian carriers have known for quite sometime: kids will adopt new technology faster and more passionately.


Though they're barely a year old in the States, Boost and Virgin Mobile have become poster children for the future of wireless services here, but what they have done is nothing new. Following the examples of Nokia in Europe or DoCoMo in Japan, they have used the proper advertising and sponsorships to capture the attention of a market largely ignored by US carriers. Now they're being used as examples for the burgeoning youth market, as well as the success of MVNOs (even thought Boost isn't really an MVNO since it's owned by Nextel).

In-Stat guesses that there are some 25-35 million kids out there in America dying for a cell phone. Boost and Virgin have already snared about 1.5 million of them in addition to a healthy share the carriers have added with new prepaid programs and tempting downloads. A few carriers have even tried changing their image and advertising to something hipper, but with limited success.

News.com points out that a number of other tech services like MSN and AOL are also realizing that success in the youth market is important. Popularity or acceptance in the youth market often leads to success in larger markets, because youth are the trend setters, not just in fashion, but in technology. In-Stat/MDR observes that because they are tech-savvy, kids tend to be the biggest consumers of the lucrative data service the carriers are so desperately pushing. By enlisting more young users, data usage won't just increase among the youth, but among users in general as their habits set the trends for all users. Most recently, the youth market has set the IM and file sharing worlds on fire; carriers would be wise to hope for similar success with their data services.