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It Appears That Tablet Owners Largely Ignore 3G Plans

By - Source: Connected Intelligence | B 20 comments

The strategy of subsidizing tablets via 3G or 4G data plans may not be such a great idea.

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.

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  • 4 Hide
    reprotected , December 16, 2011 1:25 AM
    I can see none being an option for tablets, but cellular only?
  • -1 Hide
    spentshells , December 16, 2011 1:37 AM
    Too expensive and tablets are not practical to carry around.
  • 6 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , December 16, 2011 1:41 AM
    Well, as soon as carriers stop gouging consumers, 3G tablet adoption rates will increase sharply.

    I mean, people just can't afford to pay for bandwidth with 300% markup. (Assuming 10 cents for 2GB, which is close to what it costs.)

    Too bad that as long as that grossly fixed price remains, it will keep 3G adoption of tablets down and use of expansive networks to a minimum. So unless the government steps in (which it won't), this remains.
  • Display all 20 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    richboyliang , December 16, 2011 2:21 AM
    If only data plans were more affordable...all of those companies rip customers off and hide fine print inside seemingly unlimited data plans, if those exist. Now the only data is expensive $30-$100 for barely a few gigabytes or cheap "unlimited" data that screws the customer over after a certain low amount is exceeded.
  • 6 Hide
    Marco925 , December 16, 2011 2:25 AM
    I just use my wifi hotspot on my android device to complement such a tablet. why pay for Separate data?
  • 1 Hide
    winterblade , December 16, 2011 2:47 AM
    I use my Xoom mainly for couch surfing, and even when traveling, just as Marco just said, I use my smartphone to tether it, so I just can't understand why would I want an additional bill to pay.
    Anyways, I think that eventually stuff like Motorola lapdock, Asus Transformer and Asus Padphone will be the norm, a single device to power different form factors, so the line between smartphone, portable PC and tablet will blur (no pun intended) more and more with each generation, already smartphones and and laptops are converging in features (ultrabooks).
  • 0 Hide
    alyoshka , December 16, 2011 2:54 AM
    I really hope this is going better for the WiFi chaps, like me.
  • -4 Hide
    epdm2be , December 16, 2011 5:40 AM
    Who invents this bollocks?! It's not that tablet owners 'ignore' cellular connections, it's that most tablets DON'T HAVE 3G connectivity. Djeez. E.g. the Asus Transformer model with 3G has only recently been on sale in Europe (but since Asus was so stupid as to announce the Transformer prime already no-one in their right mind will ever buy the old transformer even with 3G).
  • 0 Hide
    Tomtompiper , December 16, 2011 8:36 AM
    Tablets are not practical to carry around? As opposed to what? Laptops? Netbooks?

    I am on a train writing this on a tablet that fits in my pocket.
  • 1 Hide
    belardo , December 16, 2011 9:02 AM
    I have a regular iPad(1)... and out on a business trip to a convention, while driving around downtown and at the con itself, *I* wish we had 3G to use.

    But for the most part, it stays home and works well enough there... and games, photos, music work off-line as well so its not a big deal. But still, it would have been handy for GPS and internet with its 10" screen vs. my phone's 4" with its spotty crappy GPS from Samsung.

    $15 for 250mb is BS. For $15, I'd want at least 1GB. $25 for 5 GB. How are we supposed to use these COOL features like video and music streaming when we are CHOKED by the carriers?!
  • 1 Hide
    del35 , December 16, 2011 11:07 AM
    Got a tablet and never use it. No need for the device. I am glad that I am not paying 3g fees for it. I think that since my Samsung S2 smart phone has such a large screen, reading with a tablet is not necessary, and if I need to write a lot, my netbook is just right. Maybe one day I will find use for my tablet. Not yet.
  • 0 Hide
    emike09 , December 16, 2011 2:22 PM
    I'm just not willing to pay $30/mo per device for 3G. I would jump on the 3G bandwagon if carriers bundled multiple devices into that data plan for no extra cost, and if data usage doubled per plan. I.E 500mb for $15 and 4GB for $30 with up to 5 devices.
  • 0 Hide
    anonymous32111 , December 16, 2011 2:25 PM
    Freaking AT&T/phone behemoths.. wont give me a smartphone with a GD 2 year contract unless you get a Data plan. I only need it for Wifi, but of course, they want to bend you over for some bullshit data plan which costs almost (5 dollars less) as much per month than my 40 megabit down home connection.
  • 0 Hide
    anonymous32111 , December 16, 2011 2:28 PM
    Oh yeah, and screw your merger, i hate you!
  • 0 Hide
    fracture , December 16, 2011 5:21 PM
    Because who wants to pay for internet 3 times?
  • 0 Hide
    velocityg4 , December 16, 2011 8:10 PM
    When they change there subscription plans to match landline providers as far as number of connected devices goes I'll consider a 3G &c tablet.

    It shouldn't matter what devices or how many devices I use. If I'm paying for 2GB+ data. It should not matter what device I am using to make use of the data. I could see restrictions on unlimited plans just so people don't have 10 devices sucking up data. But if I have a set limit on data it should not matter if I have one device or one hundred devices sucking up that set limit.

    Like Comcast I get 200GB a month. It doesn't matter how many computers are connected on my network. Just as long as I do not go over 200GB.

    Also these network issues of availability and bandwidth if all cell providers had to use one system just like land phone lines. Then instead of T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon towers all interlacing over the same area. We could have single heavy duty towers in populated areas and more reliable networks in areas outside of urban centers. Just like just about every other country.
  • 0 Hide
    husker , December 17, 2011 9:21 PM
    del35Got a tablet and never use it. No need for the device. I am glad that I am not paying 3g fees for it. I think that since my Samsung S2 smart phone has such a large screen, reading with a tablet is not necessary, and if I need to write a lot, my netbook is just right. Maybe one day I will find use for my tablet. Not yet.

    Was it a gift or did you see it a store and go, "Ooooh, sparkely!"
  • 0 Hide
    del35 , December 18, 2011 10:46 PM
    Was it a gift or did you see it a store and go, "Ooooh, sparkely!"
    I bought the tablet because I kept reading all the hype about tablet computing. It is ok, but nothing special. I guess I could use it in the living room while lying in the couch as I am now. But if I have to write as I am now, it is just not the right thing to use. A laptop or a netbook is the best then.

    I will probably be giving my tablet away in exchange for some maintenance work that I need done on my home.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , December 20, 2011 1:24 AM
    I doubt anyone wants to be willingly choked by the carriers for cash.
  • 0 Hide
    viciouz2000 , January 5, 2012 5:58 PM
    tablet use is for like everyday business use, think of those people who you see on the street with a 3 ring binder and notepad, soon i see tablets replacing those clunky devices that fedex and ups uses, the 7 inch tablet looks like a good size fit replacement for fedex and ups.
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