Carriers Prepping for Back-to-School

by Jordan Richardson on July 28, 2010

So it’s a little early to start talking about that magical time of the year when the kids go back to school, sure, but that doesn’t mean that the wireless providers aren’t already barking about it. See, they’re already preparing their data plans and products for the wonderful season in efforts to target the young consumers – and, of course, their parents.

Bell, Rogers and Telus are primed for the season. The new wireless entrants, like WIND Mobile and Mobilicity, are also expected to take part in the time-honoured tradition of luring the young.

New information from the carriers regarding a slew of low-cost and unlimited plans geared exclusively towards students is expected soon, possibly within this week, as the companies jockey for position.

According to Iain Grant of the Seaboard Group, the youth market in the wireless industry makes for some $2.8 billion in yearly revenue. That’s 16%, give or take, of the industry’s full take over one year. More than half of that comes from the 20-24 set, while 15-19 year olds account for about a third. That leaves the remainder with “consumers” aged 5 to 14.

The season is the reason for INQ Social Mobile, in all its neo-Abercrombie glory, to make its first device available in Canada. The device is the INQ Chat 3G and it’s designed predictably to directly connect to sites like Facebook and Twitter, making it much easier for young users to peruse scads of mirror self-shots on the profiles of their friends.

The INQ Chat 3G is going to be available on Telus’ bargain front brand Koodo Mobile and will retail for $50 after “tab,” making it the perfect expenditure for that lawn-mowing income. There are, of course, the usual Koodo catches involved.

Rogers’ Chatr should be a big player among cash-strapped young consumers, too. John Bitove’s favourite brand stands a chance at gathering a wide swath of new consumers if the prices are right and the contracts are non-existent. For Rogers, a company aware that the back-to-school season rivals the holiday season in terms of new customers, this is make or break time for their Chatr brand.

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