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Mobile consumers want greener phones

Half want operators to get eco-conscious

The results of a recent consumer survey conducted in North America by ABI Research suggests that nearly half of all mobile consumers are "somewhat likely" or "very likely" to be influenced by suppliers' green credentials when purchasing services or devices.

Respondents were asked whether they'd be more likely to purchase mobile services or mobile handsets from an operator that makes use of ‘green' initiatives, such as giving money to organizations seeking to help the environment, actively employing programmes that reduce its carbon footprint, and/or buys network equipment from ‘green' equipment vendors.

Paying more than just lip service, 41 percent (for services) and 45 percent (for devices) of the 1,000+ respondents surveyed indicated that they'd be significantly or somewhat more likely to do so.

Perhaps predicatably, younger consumers showed a greater willingness to pursue "eco-groovy" mobile activities than older ones.

Some phone manufacturers are actively chasing the green market by boasting of their eco credentials. iPhone innovator Apple, for example, has published a webpage called 'A Greener Apple' to push its removal of toxic chemicals from its new products.

"Wireless operators take notice," says ABI senior analyst Jeff Orr. "Green issues were not even a talking point a couple years back. Now, subscribers of all age groups are expressing awareness of and interest in eco-friendly device and service incentives.

"The service providers first to connect with environmentally conscious businesses and consumer subscribers will have an edge in this growing trend. Additional education remains necessary to communicate issues surrounding battery disposal and the accumulation of e-waste.

"If consumers are simply unaware of the environmental issues surrounding mobile devices and services," Orr adds, "then the industry should increase its efforts to get the message across. Some other verticals - the inkjet print industry, for example - are more proactive in motivating consumers to help. And other ABI Research studies have found little motivation among handset vendors, except the two or three largest, to offer ‘green' mobile device product lines."

The "Green Purchasing Trends for Mobile Phones and Services" survey, conducted in March 2009, queried over a thousand adult consumers in the US.


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