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Operators Beware: Teen Mobile Market Running Out of Steam as Subscribers Reach the Saturation Point Print E-mail

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., June 30, 2008—The US 12-17 teen cellular subscribers surpassed 16 million in 2007, according to market research and consultancy, MultiMedia Intelligence. This is up 12% from 2006.



By 2012, the number of teen subscribers will reach 17 million, a delta of only 1 million subscribers from 2007. Wireless penetration rates for teens are reaching saturation, resulting in stagnating growth. Since the teen market is not a multiple handset demographic, subscriber growth is forced to slow.

"The teen market has been the 'golden child' for cellular providers in the US," according to Frank Dickson, Chief Research Officer for MultiMedia Intelligence. "In addition to growing subscribers, teen ARPU has been growing higher than that of the overall market. Teens simply use their phones to do more, from text messaging to purchasing premium content. However, pricing pressures and teen cellular saturation are bringing an end to the teen cellular gold rush."

Key findings regarding teen wireless subscribers include:

  • Subscriber growth is seasonal, with Q3 and Q4 the stronger quarters.
  • Over half of teens are cellular subscribers by age 13.
  • On average, girls mature cellularly early than boys. Even at the higher age groups, teen female subscribers outnumber male subscribers. However, the gap among those in the 17 year old age group has narrowed greatly.
  • The Hispanic teen market has become significant, projected to approach 3 million subscribers by 2012.


The research, "The Maturing Wireless Teen Market: 12-17 US Teen Wireless Subscribers, Revenue, ARPU and Content," analyzes the US 12-17 year old teen wireless market in terms of subscribers, ARPU, and revenue. Forecasts and segmentation are provided on an annual and a quarterly basis by race, age and sex. A special emphasis is placed on examining the market on a gender by age perspective as well as the Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. The research relies on the strength of supply side models of MultiMedia Intelligence and primary-based survey data of 2,000 to 2,500 teens annually from the Simmons National Consumer study, a product of Experian Consumer Research. The result is integrated research, creating exceptional insights on an under researched market.

This research is a result of MultiMedia Intelligence's strategic partnership with Experian. The partnership combines MultiMedia Intelligence's vast industry expertise, market sizing and forecasting models and databases with Experian's in-depth data on consumer behavior, psychographics, lifestyles, opinions and attitudes. Together, they deliver industry-first market segmentation, insights and forecasts based on combined superior supply-side and demand-side views of the markets, never before offered in this data driven, data hungry market.

Rick Sizemore

(480) 213-4151

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