FAQs

1. What percentage of Americans own cell phones?
Answer: Over 51 percent.

2. Which city has the highest percentage of cell phone owners?
Answer: Greenville, South Carolina (68 percent).

3. How many cell phone owners are there in the US?
Answer: Approximately 140 million.

4. Why are carriers losing potential new customers?
Answer: The pool of potential new customers is shrinking due to the high penetration of cell phones.

5. How are carriers trying to retain existing customers?
Answer: By offering upgrades to pricier phones and services with features like picture messaging, camera attachments, and new designs.

6. What are some new billing plans that carriers are offering?
Answer: Rollover plans that allow subscribers to keep their unused minutes from one month to the next.

7. Do consumers have an appetite for fancy cell phone features?
Answer: It depends on how well carriers educate them about the benefits and how much they charge for them.

8. What other cities have a high percentage of cell phone owners?
Answer: Raleigh, North Carolina (65 percent); Orlando, Florida (63 percent); Boston and Washington, D.C. (61 percent each).

9. Which city has the lowest percentage of cell phone owners?
Answer: Telephia declined to identify the city with the lowest percentage during the third quarter of 2002.

10. How often do Americans use their cell phones?
Answer: About 48 percent make or receive more than five calls a day.

11. Why is Garrison using his cell phone more?
Answer: The convenience of having it always in his hand.

12. How many times a day does Garrison estimate he uses his cell phone?
Answer: 15 times a day.

Summary

Cell phones have become increasingly popular in the United States, with over 51 percent of people in major telephone markets now owning one. This penetration is particularly high in Greenville, South Carolina, where 68 percent of residents own a cell phone.

As the pool of potential new customers shrinks, carriers are focusing on retaining existing ones by offering upgrades to pricier phones and services with features like picture messaging, camera attachments, and new designs. They are also introducing new billing plans, such as rollover plans that allow subscribers to keep their unused minutes from one month to the next.

It remains to be seen whether consumers have an appetite for these fancy features, especially if they must pay more for them. Carriers will need to do a good job of educating customers about the benefits and value of these features in order to drive demand.

Despite the high penetration of cell phones, there is still room for growth, particularly in areas with lower ownership rates. Carriers will continue to target these areas in their marketing and sales efforts.

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