Sunday, June 23, 2024

Mobile phone users to break five billion in 2010

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 5, 2010

An iPhone

Photos: Apple, Motorola

Once upon a time there was print media. Then came radio and television. The Internet changed our world and marketing along with it. Now we can listen to some radio programs and watch television shows online whenever we want. The media have fragmented.

That’s before even mentioning ethnic media outlets. Or, dare I say it, the newly available and much anticipated iPad which threatens to change book and magazine publishing, among other things. At the same time, there is a device nearly everyone has and carries with them most of the time, cellphones. Mobile phones have become ubiquitous in our country and in many parts of the world, presenting a wide open marketing window of opportunity.

By the end of this year, there will be 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions world wide, according to a February 18, 2010 The Economist online article. Many mobile phone conversations are lasting longer than they did in the past. Ten years ago cellphone users spoke for an average 174 minutes a month, according to the GSM Association, an industry group. That average had reached 288 minutes by September 2009.

A Motorola Droid

Some places have chattier users that others. For example, people in Puerto Rico talk the most, 1,866 minutes according the GSM Association. This may be because cheap plans include unlimited calls to the American mainland where family and friends are often based. On the continent, Americans are using 835 minutes (including incoming minutes paid for by the subscriber). Others among at the top of the list of heavy users are Hong Kong, China, Uzbekistan, Singapore, India, Canada, Israel, and Belarus. The three lowest users? Sao Tome and Principe, Cambodia and Philippines.

Who is using mobile phones in America? It seems everyone old enough to use one has a phone or some people have more than one. In the three month average ending in February 2010, 234 million Americans 13 years of age and older were mobile subscribers, according to comScore MobiLens data released last month. Since there are just over 300 million people living in the United States including babies and children, 234 million is a high percentage of the population that is capable and old enough to have a phone.

Although the comScore study does not breakdown use by ethnic group, US Hispanic Use of Telecommunication Services 2006 – 2011, a market research report by The Insight Research Corporation, examines mobile phone use by blacks, Hispanics and Asians in the United States. That organization’s researchers estimated that one out of every three dollars spent on telecommunications services in 2009 would be purchased by domestic ethic communities.

A March 2009 Scarborough Research report indicates Hispanics like cellphones, are more likely than the average person to have a cellphone, and outspend many others on cellular usage. Members of this market segment also tend to use the phone’s functions beyond talking, often taking advantage of picture taking, text messaging, email, Internet access and downloading applications.