Tablets Increasingly Connected to Cell Networks: NPD
While wireless carriers are making progress in getting tablet owners to use the cellular capability, an overwhelming majority don't use it.Cellular connections for tablets grew nearly 50 percent in the first quarter of 2013, compared with the first quarter of 2012, but are still only used on 12 percent of the tablets in the U.S, according to an NPD Connected Intelligence research report. The report noted that while wireless carriers are making inroads in getting tablet owners to use the cellular capability on their devices, an overwhelming majority of tablet owners still don't use it. AT&T and Verizon Wireless dominate the connected tablet market, primarily because most consumers purchase the tablet connection from their current cellular (smartphone) provider. "Most consumers haven't found that key application convincing them to add a cellular connection," Eddie Hold, vice president of connected intelligence at NPD, said in a statement. "Another setback is that many tablets purchased today do not include a cellular modem, which further limits the directly addressable market for mobile operators. Instead, these operators need to focus on tethering and mobile hotspot solutions in order to grow the market more rapidly." The early popularity of Apple's iPad, available on Verizon and AT&T, has helped the two top carriers gain a very significant share of the market, the report noted. However, where cellular connectivity has been activated, usage consumption is actually lower than smartphones, with an average of 850MB of cellular data used per month, compared with 1GB on smartphones, suggesting tablet users are sticking to WiFi in order to surf the Web and download content.
This was borne out by the fact that tablet WiFi data use, which averages around 10GB of data per month, is more than 2.5 times the amount of WiFi data being used on smartphones.