Connected Intelligence, a unit of market research firm NPD, found that the willingness of consumers to be paying for wireless data plans to connect their tablets is declining (not that there has been ever enthusiasm for expensive data plans). According to the firm, only 5 percent of tablet users paid for a data plan last spring and it is around 4 percent right now. It is quite apparent that most tablet users feel that Wi-Fi availability is good enough as 65 percent of tablet owners use Wi-Fi (up from 60 percent earlier this year). Interestingly, about 5 percent of tablet owners said they do not connect the devices to the Internet at all.
“There are multiple reasons for greater Wi-Fi reliance,” said Eddie Hold, vice president, Connected Intelligence, in a prepared statement. “Concern over the high cost of cellular data plans is certainly an issue, but more consumers are finding that Wi-Fi is available in the majority of locations where they use their tablets, providing them ‘good enough’ connectivity. In addition, the vast majority of tablet users already own a smartphone, which fulfills the ‘must have’ connectivity need.”
I tend to think that a reason for low 3G/4G data connection may be the over-confident pricing model of wireless data plans. $15 for 250 MB of data or $30 for 2 GB of data may be difficult to justify, especially for those who are already paying nearly $100 for their smartphone and possibly $50 per month for a DSL or cable broadband connection at home. While it is conceivable that a $15 purchase of 250 MB data when on the road could make sense in emergency cases, a subscription is clearly not an attractive solution for tablet users at this time. Perhaps those data plans do not offer enough bandwidth and are too expensive? Just a thought.