Monday, June 12, 2006

Telephia: Houston and New Orleans Consumers Still Show Heavy Cell Phone Usage Months After Hurricane Katrina

According to Telephia (application/pdf Object), "monthly mobile usage in the Houston and New Orleans metropolitan areas grew by more than 250 minutes between Q1 2005 and Q1 2006. Data from Telephia's Customer Value Metrics research panel shows that average monthly voice minutes used in the Houston area jumped 31 percent to 1106 minutes during the first quarter of 2006, as compared to 847 minutes a year prior. Mobile consumers in New Orleans used an average of 1072 voice minutes, an increase of nearly five more hours of talk time as compared to Q1 2005. Houston and New Orleans were some of the most affected areas during the 2005 hurricane season and mobile usage growth year-over-year is at least five times more than the nationwide growth of six percent."

Telephia found that the "ranking of U.S. metropolitan areas by monthly mobile phone usage shows a clear regional pattern with users in Southeastern markets using their phone well above the national average of 718 minutes per month in Q1 2006."

Tamara Gaffney at Telephia said, "Mobile communications became a lifeline for many of the residents who were forced to evacuate their homes and it clearly played a critical role in the coordination of family and friends immediately following Hurricane Katrina. Interestingly, this heightened mobile usage continued long after landline telephone communications services were restored. This may reflect the ongoing disruption that many residents of these cities still face, but also suggests a more lasting change in consumer usage patterns born out of the hurricane experience."

Table 1: Average Monthly Voice Minutes Used by Metropolitan Area
Monthly Voice Minutes Used
Metropolitan Area Q1 2005 Q1 2006 YOY Growth (%)
--------------------------------- ---------- ---------- --------------
1. Houston, TX 847 1,106 31%
2. New Orleans, LA 761 1,072 41%
3. Daytona Beach, FL 569 900 58%
4. Toledo, OH 533 894 68%
5. Atlanta, GA 759 880 16%
6. Mobile, AL 802 869 8%
7. Raleigh-Durham, NC 797 838 5%
8. Knoxville, TN 902 837 -7%
9. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 738 834 13%
10. Corpus Christi, TX 711 834 17%
--------------------------------- ---------- ---------- --------------
National Average 679 718 6%
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Source: Telephia Customer Value Metrics, Q1 2006