By any measure, telecommunications is a heavyweight industry with respect to marketing and should remain so for the foreseeable future. As in any young successful industry, rapid growth and competition are the orders of the day. The mobile phone industry’s future is further complicated by the shifting functionality of its devices. Phones that were traditionally used for voice communications are becoming the new personal computer.
According to The Media Audit, over $2 billion is spent annually by industry operators on advertising. About half of that amount is doled out by Verizon and AT&T. Other leading contenders include T‑Mobile, Cricket and Virgin Mobile. It’s interesting to note the rapid growth rate of Cricket which counts Hispanics as 1/3 of its customers. And, as the online and mobile worlds continue to evolve, The Media Audit finds that mobile phone users, and smart phone users in particular, also spend a lot of time online. This trend will ultimately result in more use of carrier services.
And then there’s the latest market development – Google is planning to release its own handset, dubbed Nexus One, in January. Industry watchers expect this phone will be unlocked and thus not sold by any one carrier. It’s too soon to tell whether Google’s device represents another technology disruptor or if it will just up the competitive ante. But the activity overall in the industry means that high levels of marketing should continue.[Sources: Sorrel, Charlie, Google Phone’s Existence, Wired, 12.14.09; Competition Heats up among cellular providers, the Media Audit, 11.09]