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U.S. Wireless Consumer Segmentation Study

comScore Networks released a study of wireless service consumer segments, the second in a two-part series that analyzes trends in the wireless industry. Based on a survey of U.S. consumers who use a wireless mobile phone, this report analyzes differences in behavior and attitudes among the following key wireless consumer segments:

- The Cellular Generation -- Ages 18 to 24, these young adults grew up with cell phone awareness, experiencing cell phones as a part of their everyday lives.

- Transitioners -- Ages 25 to 34, these people fall in between two distinct groups: those who grew up with cell phone knowledge and those who did not. Cell phones began to infiltrate everyday life during their teen years and early adulthood.

- Adult Adopters -- Age 35 or older, this group was not exposed to cell phones until adulthood. Adult Adopters tend to have the most functional view of cell phones, with many requiring just the basics and showing limited interest in emerging technologies.

"During the past decade, cell phones have dramatically changed the communication habits of American consumers," said Serge Matta, senior vice president of comScore Telecommunications Solutions. "While the youngest consumers grew up with the technology, those just a few years older did not, resulting in some pronounced differences in attitudes and behaviors towards cell phone usage across the various user segments. As cell phones continue to evolve in terms of design, functionality, and features, it is vital that cell phone providers and manufacturers understand the differing needs and desires of these distinct consumer segments."

Cell phones offer far more than simply a means of voice communication. They can provide entertainment, convey social status, and express one's individuality. While consumers in both the Cellular Generation and Transitioners are likely to view their cell phones as multi-dimensional devices, adult adopters tend to have a more functional view.

Approximately one-quarter of both the Cellular Generation (26 percent) and Transitioners (25 percent) said that "trendiness" was of high importance when selecting a cell phone, as compared to just 10 percent of Adult Adopters. Additionally, 41 percent of Cellular Generation consumers strongly agree with the statement "I like my cell phone to be personalized" with options such as color schemes and ring tones, while only 19 percent of Adult Adopters feel the same.

The Cellular Generation clearly places the greatest value on additional features, with 57 percent ranking text messaging of 'high importance' when selecting a wireless carrier and 25 percent stating the same for instant messaging, in both cases higher than their more senior counterparts.

Forty-two percent of the Cellular Generation said that a camera was of high importance when selecting a wireless phone and 20 percent said the same of an MP3 Player. In comparison, a lower 30 percent of Adult adopters felt that having a camera was of high importance, and just 8 percent felt the same about an MP3 Player.

More than three-quarters of both the Cellular Generation and Transitioners have the option to access the Internet on their cell phones, but Transitioners (29 percent) are more likely to subscribe to Internet services than the Cellular Generation (23 percent).

Adult adopters have been the slowest to adopt this behavior, with just 13 percent currently subscribing to the Internet on their cell phones while 42 percent either lack, or are unaware of the option of doing so.

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