Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Does Text Message Actually Cost a Heavy Teen User?

The frivolous answer to the question "what does text messaging cost a teenager" is "nothing," because a parent is paying. Perhaps a better way to phrase the question is "what does text messaging cost the parental unit paying for the service?"

Nielsen might have an answer. The research firm analyzes more than 40,000 mobile bills every month to determine what consumers actually are spending. The results suggest "staggering" levels of usage.

American teenagers are consuming 3,146 messages a month, which translates into more than 10 messages every hour of the month that they are not sleeping or in school.

Even the under-12 users aer sending 1,146 messages per month, which is almost four text messages per waking hour that they are not at school.

One thought you already should be having is that there is no way usage at that level is occurring on an "a la carte" basis. And you are right. Only a very small percentage of people who text message are doing so on a pay-as-you-go basis, which typically means a 20-cent per message rate.

Most users have buckets of usage. Because of that, most users are paying about one cent for each message.

From the first quarter of 2008 to the third quarter 2009, the effective price of a text message has decreased by 47 percent, in large part because so many users now are on unlimited or heavy texting plans.

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