Monday, August 29, 2005

Back-to-School with Mobile Content

In their latest Benchmark Survey, M:Metrics reports that students are the largest consumers of mobile content. The firm found that mobile browsing by students "grew by 8.7 percent in July, a rate that is two-thirds higher compared with growth in consumption by non-students."

Seamus McAteer at M:Metrics, said "In terms of mobile content and services, it's the students that are taking their parents to school. Students are out-consuming all others in mobile content consumption - even in applications that are typically thought of as for the enterprise, like mobile e-mail."

Some key findings in the latest survey were:

  • full-time students with jobs are 42 percent more likely to use mobile e-mail than the average subscriber, and 23 percent more likely to do so than respondents who are full-time workers.
  • Students with part-time jobs are more than twice as likely to download a mobile game or personalization content, including ringtones and graphics
  • More than half - 57.5 percent - of all students are on family plans, most of whom are not paying the bill
"Based on our data, it is clear that strategies by carriers like Sprint, which recently announced products targeted at students to share user-created content, and MVNOs such as AMP'd Mobile and Virgin Mobile, which also target students, are right on the money," commented McAteer.

"This tremendous propensity to consume mobile content translates to real dollars - especially considering the majority of students are spending $41 to $60 on mobile services per month," he added.

This last observation is good news for the carriers and not so great for parents footing the bill. Students, who are usually a cheap lot, aren't price sensitive in this case because many aren't paying. This frees them up to explore the network and download content, until of course they are either cut off by mom and dad or asked to pay their share.

The carriers can learn from this. If they lower the barrier to entry to the data network, specifically high-speed access, then it just might encourage even more users to take the mobile data plunge, which will drive more ARPU for the carriers. Sounds like a win-win in my book. Of course, my kids don't have cell phones yet...