Teenagers, not business users, could be the lifeline for mobile operators looking to make revenues from the data services market, new research has claimed.
A survey of 1,400 people in the UK suggests that children aged between 10 and 14 - or so called M-Agers - are the mobile phone buyers of the future and the biggest users of mobile data.
Nearly three-quarters of M-Agers are aware of video calling applications, compared to only 54 per cent of adults, while 64 per cent of youngsters are savvy about the benefits of Java applications compared to only 44 per cent of adults.
"Rather than using mobile devices as a communications device youngsters are using them more and more for downloading and gaming," said Professor Michael Hulme, chairman of the Teleconomy Group. "As they grow up this could convert into other data application usage."
The report, entitled Me, My Mobile & I, also found that 26 per cent of people questioned have become so reliant on their mobile phone that they would not be able to live without it.
Mobile phones are also playing an increasingly important role in managing the huge volume of information people receive on a daily basis, with handsets starting to replace address books, diaries, watches, alarm clocks and landline telephones.
Nearly one third of mobile users questioned exceeded their monthly call allowance.
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