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A Win-Win for Carriers and Consumers
This Frost & Sullivan insight presents an overview of the mobile handset protection market in the United States. This insight analyzes the impact of device incidents on mobile operators, and discusses the importance (and benefits) of handset protection for both operators and consumers. The various types of handset protection options and key drivers for adoption are also outlined in this insight.
HANDSET PROTECTION MARKET IN THE UNITED STATES
Adoption of smartphones and connected devices continues to increase at a rapid pace in the United States. Frost & Sullivan expects smartphone users to increase from approximately 120 million in 2011 to more than 265 million by 2017 in the United States. Advancements in network and device technologies, coupled with the proliferation of sophisticated mobile applications, continue to aggressively drive data consumption on mobile devices. Additionally, the rapidly increasing trend of enterprise mobility and bring your own device (BYOD) has allowed smartphone users to leverage their devices for a range of business activities. As a result, Frost & Sullivan research indicates the average smartphone user in the United States now consumes nearly 2 GB of cellular data every month and spends upward of 120 minutes on his or her mobile phone every day (compared to an average of 50 MB/month in the early and mid-2000s.)
Smartphones are an integral part of consumers’ daily lives. Any interruption in service usage is simply unacceptable in today’s connected world. The more consumers do on mobile phones, the less they can afford to be without them. While accidents can—and will—happen, handset protection programs offer a convenient option to reduce service disruption that may occur due to lost, stolen, damaged, or malfunctioning devices. While handset protection programs cannot “prevent” a device incident, they can certainly ensure that consumers are able to get back to using their phones quickly and in a pain-free manner. For example, a handset insurance program can provide a replacement device to consumers that have lost their mobile phones within 24 hours. This is a significant benefit for consumers with handset protection who don’t have to purchase a replacement device that could cost anywhere from $400 to as much as $850 if the customer is not eligible for the subsidized price offered at upgrade.
The handset protection market in the United States has changed significantly in the past 10 to 12 years. Initially positioned as a value-added service by mobile operators in the early 1990s, handset protection services have evolved and emerged as integral tools for reducing customer churn. It is no longer just about device replacement. In fact, certain innovators in handset protection have expanded their service offerings to offer a more comprehensive mobile protection plan that includes data backup and mobile security solutions to ensure the full continuation of mobile subscribers’ digital lives for a variety of different disruption scenarios. In addition to mobile operator-branded solutions and OEM-provided products, the independent (or direct-to-consumer) mobile handset protection market is a significant part of the competitive environment. The success of independent providers relies upon their ability to establish strategic relationships with various channels (such as retailers and big box outlets) as well as enable proper marketing and communication with customers and prospects.
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