Mobile operators dilemma: getting "digital native" youth to pay for services

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mobile.pngAccording to a recent European research report, the biggest challenge facing mobile networks is going to be engaging, retaining, and squeezing money out of the younger generation.

Though the current crop of 15-24 year-olds is incredibly tech-savvy, it appears that over one-third (37%) aren’t keen on paying for any services other than voice and SMS.

JupiterResearch found that nearly one-quarter of European 15-24s are “mobile entertainment aficionados” who use more than two new multimedia services such as live TV, music or games on their mobile phones.

They’re also heavy communicators, with 40% sending at least 10 text messages each day.

Thanks to the culture of getting nearly everything for free online, including social networking services, music, video, and other user-generated content, mobile operators could find it tough to turn these “digital native” young people into heavily paying customers.

“Implementing a virtuous cycle between messaging and content could augment the current niche of mobile entertainment aficionados because they are also heavy communicators,” said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch. “To leverage the nature of a personal communications platform, stakeholders must mix content and messaging.”

How they do that is another matter.

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Andy Merrett