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Wireless Customers Keeping Their Mobiles Longer

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People are keeping their cell phones longer. The average amount of time a person owns a cell phone has increased by 5 percent since fall of 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 U.S. Wireless Mobile Phone Evaluation Study.

The study found that people are keeping their mobile handsets for an average of 17.5 months, which is an increase from 16.6 since November of 2006. The increase in ownership is about equal among major hand set brands.

"One possible reason for this significant increase in the length of handset ownership is that more customers are initiating or renewing their service contracts for a longer period — typically for two years, as opposed to just one year, which was customary a few years ago," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates.

The study also found that the price a person pays for their mobile phone has dropped from an average of $103 in 2002 to $93 in 2007. The drop in price is mainly due to discounts from handset providers and wireless carriers in hopes of increasing sales. Around 36 percent of customers say they received a free mobile when subscribing to a wireless service, which is an increase from 28 percent in 2002.

"It’s clear that wireless service carriers are using mobile phones as bait to increase consumer traffic, applying discounts either through rebates or free limited-time offers," said Parsons.

"The problem with this strategy is that, in most cases, the discounted handsets being offered are older models, which typically lack the latest technological advancements or desired design features."

 

Wireless Customers Keeping Their Mobiles Longer
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