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Share of Tablet Owners Utilizing Cellular Connectivity Declining

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Research firm NPD today announced the results of its latest survey of tablet and notebook usage trends, finding that the share of tablet users taking advantage of cellular connectivity for their devices has declined compared to earlier this year. According to NPD's numbers, 60% of users reported using their tablets on Wi-Fi only back in April, but that number has risen to 65% over the past six months.
"There are multiple reasons for greater Wi-Fi reliance," said Eddie Hold, vice president, Connected Intelligence. "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."

There are also many more tablets hitting the market that do not provide cellular connectivity, such as the Kindle Fire. While many early adopters opted for tablets with embedded cellular - primarily as a "future proof" play - mainstream consumers are more likely to choose a lower price point and forgo the promise of constant connectivity.
Apple's iPad is the dominant product in the tablet market, and 3G-compatible models continue to carry a $130 premium over their Wi-Fi-only counterparts. While carriers have attempted to make data access for tablets flexible by offering as-needed access without the need for a data contract, cellular data service is still not a major add-on for most consumers. With the growing prevalence of Wi-Fi and features such as mobile hotspot functionality on smartphones, it is becoming less common for users to require on-board cellular data connectivity for their tablet devices.


One development that could increase cellular data usage is shared data plans, which could allow users to draw from a single allotment of data on multiple devices. Such plans could make it easier for tablet users to sign up for occasional data usage on their tablets drawn from their current smartphone data plans, without incurring a full month's data charge for the tablet alone.

Article Link: Share of Tablet Owners Utilizing Cellular Connectivity Declining
 

chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
154
CA
Since they aren't tied to contract, more and more people are realizing it isn't worth it and bailing. Makes sense and I think shared data plans are the way to tackle it. Carriers will have to structure it carefully to actually make it attractive though.
 
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tempusfugit

macrumors 65816
May 21, 2009
1,112
1
Chicago
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A405)

Tablet data plans are annoyingly expensive. Like my $20/1 gig plan on my VZW ipad2.

It's so annoying that technology is finally here to do so many amazing things remotely, and now people have to worry about caps on their phone, tablet, and home Internet connection (I'm talking to you Comcast, who keeps raising my Internet speeds and keeping my bandwidth cap the same)

Cloud computing is definitely on the rise but has the hurdle of the bandwidth cap to get over before it reaches it's true potential.

I use Netflix a lot, and other streaming services as well. I even tried onlive's cloud gaming platform. All of this is impressive technology, but now I'm literally counting bytes to make sure I don't get pounded by overages or removed from concast's service for going over 250gb in a month.

Bandwidth NEEDS to get cheaper somehow, because we are fast approaching a bottleneck.

On another note, public wifi is rarely faster than my ATT 3G, so screw that sentiment of "theres wifi everywhere anyway" because it sucks, lacks security, and is slow.
 
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Amazing Iceman

macrumors 601
Nov 8, 2008
4,114
1,740
Florida, U.S.A.
I think that those still using Cell connectivity may have a Unlimited Data Plan (like I have from AT&T), and don't want to loose it.

Another reason could be that those users also have a phone (iPhone, perhaps) with a Data Plan, so they don't really depend on the iPad and can wait for a WiFi connection.
 
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redscull

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
785
739
Texas
Family data is the only way I'd consider a cellular tablet. I don't see how that isn't obvious to basically everyone, whether that's consumers, marketers, device makers, or whomever. We already have smartphones with data plans. It just doesn't make sense to pay twice. Duh.
 
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RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,518
281
Lagrange Point
My first iPad was ripped off on a train trip across the country. I could not use, Find My iPhone due to it's lack of 3g. My current iPad does have 3g for no other reason than the ability to track it down. (I do use 3g when on long trips, but that is not the primary reason.)
 
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r-m

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2010
596
45
What a load of rubbish!
I wonder if MyFi and other devices like those were included in the "wifi only" classification?
It wouldn't have surprised me if a big reason is because of the ridiculous 3G restrictions still in place on some apps!

So annoying watching poor quality Youtube videos, no streaming in certain apps, restricted functionality in certain apps, etc, just because it's over 3G.
Especially when that same 3G connection is used in the personal wifi hotspot devices and the iPad is then connected to "wifi" and those restrictions don't exist on that same connection as your buddy's 3G iPad!!!

Apple should make "My3G" part of iOS - give users the option to enable/disable 3G/Wifi detection in apps - I know my data limit, let us worry about that rather than babying everybody.
The 3G restrictions are the one thing that would push me to Wifi connectivity only on my iPad, but I hate the thought of having to carry something extra (3G wifi hotspot device) with me all the time (or at least whenever I think I'll need to get online...).

Anyway... rant over.
Thank god for My3G and jailbreaking.


My first iPad was ripped off on a train trip across the country. I could not use, Find My iPhone due to it's lack of 3g. My current iPad does have 3g for no other reason than the ability to track it down. (I do use 3g when on long trips, but that is not the primary reason.)

That too! A friend of mine got mugged whilst walking the dog in a park, iPad in her bag. Wifi only so couldn't track it.
 
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baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,611
1,985
I don't have an iPad, but I wouldn't really be able to use the WiFi only version since not only can I not have WiFi at home, but mostly I'd want to check maps on the go and communicated with people whenever and wherever I can… And over the years of owning an iPod Touch I have learned the hard way that there is no such thing as free WiFi, and even places that offer it require you to fill out a survey and then redirect you to a "Page Cannot Be Displayed" or something.

A Tablet being portable, it simply must be useable everywhere, for me. But the issue is that I hate contracts, especially if you're already paying for your smartphone, home internet, etc…

I think that in the future, like in 5 years, there will be a solution to this, and there will be some sort of internet network broadcasted everywhere in the world just like TV and Radio, and you'll pay for it and you'll be able to use it anywhere in the world for any device you own, just like a gmail account.
 
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2 Replies

macrumors regular
Apr 26, 2010
180
0
Not suprised.

The main reason to use cell data is when you're on the go (not stationary) near an available wifi signal.
And since tablets are less mobile than their smaller mobile brethren, once the novelty wears off owners will be less likely to carry the non-pocketable toy around with them.
 
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skellener

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2003
1,768
507
So. Cal.
Paying for data per device is ridiculous. Imagine if you had separate water bills per sink, toilet, shower in the house. Or separate electrical bills for every device. Or if they charged you per device for cable.....ooops, wait a minute....

When you sign up with a carrier, you should pay one fee for access to the network with whatever devices you like. It shouldn't matter. Why should it matter whether I connect to AT&T on an iPhone or an iPad? Why should it matter if I share my connection from my iPhone, to my iPad?? It's the same data. It's the same connection.

$30 a month to share your connection from your phone to your Mac or iPad? Or another $20 just to connect your 3G iPad to the same network as your phone? Of course nobody wants to pay for those ridiculous data plans the carriers offer.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
I bet a lot of people got 3G iPads “just in case,” and then did try it out for a time since a month or two isn’t much cost; knowing, though, that in future they might reactivate it rarely or never. And that plan has proven true: they just don’t need it much.
 
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AppleDroid

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2011
631
84
Illinois
Maybe they allowed us to add the iPad to our current plan for a minimal $10 fee (like adding another phone to your account) which isn't limited to a paltry 1GB/month then it would take off.
 
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Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
This is kind of a well duh result.
The 3G part for tablets hell all data plans is a rip off as you have to pay for each device and it is not like they are sucking down an insane amount of data.

I would go wifi only with a tablet. It is not like I am outside the range of wifi that often.
 
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wikus

macrumors 68000
Jun 1, 2011
1,795
2
Planet earth.
Could it be because tablets are gimmicks?

----------

Yep, one of the few ways I like sticking it to Rogers, though with their prices they still win in the end. :/

If you really wanted to stick to Rogers, you'd call them and give them the finger and sign up with a carrier that isnt part of the Rogers subsidiary (Wind, Mobilicity, Public, etc).
 
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Kaibelf

Suspended
Apr 29, 2009
2,445
7,438
Silicon Valley, CA
Could it be because tablets are gimmicks?

No, it's because people don't see the value in spending an extra $100+ to have an antenna feature to let them pay an addition monthly fee to get to use the web, when they already pay a fee for supposedly "unlimited" data on their other device. No one likes to be nickeled and dimed.
 
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aristotle

macrumors 68000
Mar 13, 2007
1,768
5
Canada
I also tether my iPad 2 from my iPhone 4S. I have Telus as a carrier and there is no extra charge required for tethering.

My iPad 1 was a 3G model but I decided to go with Wifi only this time as I was planning on getting the successor to the iPhone 4 and tether with that.

My previous iPhone was a 3GS which did not allow Wifi tethering unless if you jailbroke it and then installed a thirdparty app from Cydia.

That would have been too much hassle for me.
 
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BC2009

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2009
1,978
352
I buy the iPad 3G data plan about 3 months out of the year (when I am traveling). I would prefer a shared data plan. The only other reason I have the 3G iPad 2 is so I can have GPS functionality on it as well to support all apps.

I just find that 95% of the time, I don't need 3G access on my iPad since the places I am going have WiFi. And if I really need it, I can always buy it on the spot when I get there.

If Apple made an iPad that had GPS without 3G, then I would probably buy that unless the carriers came up with a good shared data package. The problem I find with using the iPhone or any MiFi device is that the iPad 2's battery can outlast anything else and I have no interest in draining my iPhone to zero so I can surf on my iPad. Nor do I want to carry a separate MiFi device that cannot keep up with the iPad 2's battery anyway.
 
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*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
Could it be because tablets are gimmicks?

----------



If you really wanted to stick to Rogers, you'd call them and give them the finger and sign up with a carrier that isnt part of the Rogers subsidiary (Wind, Mobilicity, Public, etc).

I also get unparalleled service quality and uptime with Rogers. A lot of those budget services don't compare.
 
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Ugg

macrumors 68000
Apr 7, 2003
1,992
16
Penryn
I bet a lot of people got 3G iPads “just in case,” and then did try it out for a time since a month or two isn’t much cost; knowing, though, that in future they might reactivate it rarely or never. And that plan has proven true: they just don’t need it much.

But when they do it's priceless. A wifi iPad is only good when there's wifi around.

No, it's because people don't see the value in spending an extra $100+ to have an antenna feature to let them pay an addition monthly fee to get to use the web, when they already pay a fee for supposedly "unlimited" data on their other device. No one likes to be nickeled and dimed.

I wonder if this reduction in usage will lead Apple to reduce the price. $130 seems like a lot of money.

I buy the iPad 3G data plan about 3 months out of the year (when I am traveling). I would prefer a shared data plan. The only other reason I have the 3G iPad 2 is so I can have GPS functionality on it as well to support all apps.

I just find that 95% of the time, I don't need 3G access on my iPad since the places I am going have WiFi. And if I really need it, I can always buy it on the spot when I get there.

If Apple made an iPad that had GPS without 3G, then I would probably buy that unless the carriers came up with a good shared data package. The problem I find with using the iPhone or any MiFi device is that the iPad 2's battery can outlast anything else and I have no interest in draining my iPhone to zero so I can surf on my iPad. Nor do I want to carry a separate MiFi device that cannot keep up with the iPad 2's battery anyway.

I don't have an iPad yet. I'm waiting for #3. However, my needs closely mirror yours. I won't need 3G on a regular basis, but when I do need it, I'll NEED it. GPS is necessary and having a large screen will be incredible.

I have Virgin Mobile's $25 a month plan on my android phone. I don't like android but I also don't want to pay $100 a month for a service I don't need. The additional $25 a month for 3 or 4 months a year won't be a huge burden at all.



I have a friend who is a field supervisor for an agricultural company. They've issued him an iPad and all the info he enters into it and all the photos he takes are automatically transmitted to the head office via 3G. I think for businesses like his, 3G is priceless and demand will remain strong.
 
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hugo7

macrumors regular
Oct 25, 2008
149
48
Weak sauce

According to NPD's numbers, 60% of users...

What are those numbers? What was the sample set? 60% of how many users? How many devices are WIFI-only? This article is a load of crap. Sure, it may be a true trend that tablet owners are foregoing cellular connectivity, but that's not well-supported by the shown statistics. And what exactly is "none"? What are those users typically doing?

This article is so weak.
 
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skellener

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2003
1,768
507
So. Cal.
I buy the iPad 3G data plan about 3 months out of the year (when I am traveling). I would prefer a shared data plan. The only other reason I have the 3G iPad 2 is so I can have GPS functionality on it as well to support all apps.
If you tether your iPad to your iPhone, it will use the GPS data from the iPhone.
 
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JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
6,473
124
Mpls, MN
I know many with tablets, mostly iPads. One of them is using 3G. While she has a work laptop, she has never bothered with internet access at home, so the iPad is now her main computing device and she can use it anywhere.

I do know others with 3G models, but not using it.
 
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wikus

macrumors 68000
Jun 1, 2011
1,795
2
Planet earth.
I also get unparalleled service quality and uptime with Rogers. A lot of those budget services don't compare.

I've been with Wind since August. I pay $39.55 after taxes. I have UNLIMITED data, unlimited local and canada wide long distance, unlimited canada wide text messaging and voice mail.

This is what Wind speeds are capable of when tethered to my HTC Panache via wifi;



This is what others are capable of getting;

St. Catharines:


Kitchener:


Toronto:



Being a Rogers or Bell is nothing to be proud of. Their duopoly in Canada has stifled so much potential. Their bandwidth caps are some of the worst in the world and Canadians also pay for the highest prices in all developed nations in the world.

Do yourself and the rest of Canada a favour and quit Rogers.
 
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