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  • AT&T CEO: iPad to Be "WiFi Driven"


    In a comment that surprised industry insiders and pundits alike, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson today downplayed the use of 3G on the soon-to-be-released iPad, calling it a mainly "Wi-Fi driven product." Apple CEO Steve Jobs had made much mention of the fact that the iPad will have a 3G compatible model and touted AT&T's iPad-only 3G subscription plans at the product announcement in January. However, Reuters reported today that Stephenson told webcast viewers at an investor conference that his "expectation is that there's not going to be a lot of people out there looking for another subscription."

    Amid the hype surrounding the iPad launch, when many observers were thinkng that Apple would open the iPhone and iPad up to a second carrier, Apple was able to convince AT&T to offer pre-paid 3G service for the iPad, with no contract or time commitment. The pay-as-you go nature were generally well received, with many prospective buyers considering the tiered plans: 250MB of data per month for $15, or unlimited data for $30. The CEO's comments were unexpected also because AT&T already offers 3G service to PCs and netbooks from Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which it promotes pretty enthusiastically. So it's raising more than a few eyebrows that AT&T is coming out now and say that they don't think people will really pay for 3G on their iPads.

    Stephenson may be considering at the significant premium that would be paid by users wishing to enjoy broadband on the go: the 3G models are priced $130 higher than WiFi-only models, despite the cost of the 3G radio being only a tenth of that difference. Factoring in that and the cost of the subscription (along with the fact that it's too big and unwieldy to use for Web browsing as you walk down the street), the iPad becomes much more expensive with only limited additional functionality, as WiFi hotspots proliferate and 3G coverage remains spotty in some locations.

    Erica Ogg at CNET wonders if AT&T took the deal because they thought it wouldn't cost them much: that "they didn't think people would use it anyway, so they wouldn't be leaving that much money on the table." More likely though, Ogg thinks, they are trying to reassure investors and regulators that the iPad isn't going to choke AT&T's network, as the FCC publicly fretted it would. The US regulatory agency's director of scenario planning worried that the iPad would escalate the surge in demand for wireless broadband by smartphone users and worried that it would lead to a situation similar to the "congestion dialup users experienced following AOL’s 1996 decision to allow unlimited internet use."

    In his remarks, Stephenson also addressed concerns about AT&T possibly losing its arrangement with Apple, saying that iPhone would be "an important part" of AT&T's phone line up "for quite some period of time." He did not elaborate on how much longer AT&T might keep its exclusivity deal, nor did he directly respond to speculation that Apple might be looking for a second wireless carrier in the US. Apple has also declined comment on that matter.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T CEO: iPad to Be "WiFi Driven" started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. ryanofdiamonds's Avatar
      ryanofdiamonds -
      Now I'm not sure if I want the 3G Model or not. I think it would be nice to have because I'm always on the go and stuff.
      And before the "Why are you going to get an iPad anyways, blah blah, giant ipod", the jailbreaking possiblities of this device ARE AWESOME.
      Thats why
    1. tarekkkkk's Avatar
      tarekkkkk -
      i totally agree that the ipad 3g is a waste of money , buy the wifi model ftw ,if you need 3g 130 $ + subscription about lets say 30$/m =160$ and if you have iphone already you can use the 3g and make it wifi hotspot ymm you can buy the 32 gb and you will save 60 $ for the camera kit need more btw i hate to say this ITS TAKING TOO LONG TO RELEASE IT MAN !!!!
    1. The Maestro's Avatar
      The Maestro -
      You got an ipad, throw a 4G radio in it. No? Can we jailbreak and some how make it run snow leopard?

      Verizon ipad? No way. Steve jobs doesn't care about us he just cares about apple.

      When was the last time steve had an apple? To long. He's not about us or anything. WTF am I talking about.
    1. FoneWeasel's Avatar
      FoneWeasel -
      If they marketed it right it could be a big seller. Sell the 3G as a replacement for a computer and internet service for households that just need to do basic email, web browsing and word processing. At that price you can drop your monthly cable modem/DSL that likely cost more then $30/mon and get rid of your old computer for a new iPad that has the additional benefit of all the apps available for relatively low price plus you can bring it anywhere if need be.
    1. extremzocker's Avatar
      extremzocker -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Maestro View Post
      You got an ipad, throw a 4G radio in it. No? Can we jailbreak and some how make it run snow leopard?

      Verizon ipad? No way. Steve jobs doesn't care about us he just cares about apple.

      When was the last time steve had an apple? To long. He's not about us or anything. WTF am I talking about.
      lol at the WTF
      Even if Jobs only cared about Apple, he would only care about profit thus giving us good products to make that profit. In theory....

      I wont buy an iPad... iPhone 4G all the way
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      I think I would use wifi most of the time but I would like to have the option of 3G when on the go.
    1. PhoneLine's Avatar
      PhoneLine -
      I plan on getting the wifi version. When I'm not in a wifi area which is rare I'll tether my phones connection.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      I'd be using it at home and school, both have wi-fi. No need for 3G..at least right now.
    1. Conas's Avatar
      Conas -
      IF I get an iPad, I'll be buying the WiFi model and tethering internet from my iPhone when I'm not near WiFi.But I'm eligible for AT&T upgrade in June, so I bet I'll be saving my money and getting a new phone instead. The biggest motivation for me to buy an iPad is jailbreak capabilities, so it'd be silly to buy one on the initial release anyways.
    1. pimpylongslapins's Avatar
      pimpylongslapins -
      Tether your ******* iPhone to it! why get another sub when you can use MyWi?.?.? Nuff said!
    1. NessLookAlike's Avatar
      NessLookAlike -
      I think that once the iPad comes out, along with the 3G radio, and people realize ALL THE BENEFITS OF HAVING WIRELESS DATA EVERYWHERE (think: free phone service) then everyone's tune about "well, I don't really need 3G everywhere I go" is going to totally change.
    1. mikerlx's Avatar
      mikerlx -
      I'm still deciding on getting ipad but I know not at launch.
    1. Carlos's Avatar
      Carlos -
      Quote Originally Posted by pimpylongslapins View Post
      Tether your ******* iPhone to it! why get another sub when you can use MyWi?.?.? Nuff said!
      Yeah i was kinda thinking the same thing ill just tether off my FREE MyWi app, oh wait MyWi isn't supposed to be free huh....hahaha

      But i am still debating on Wifi or Wifi+3G, i always like to have option and get top models that way i dont feel behind.

      Only thing that bothers me is when I spend the money on this iPad and they come out with one with more Memory, Cameras (regular and front facing), More Ports, Multi Tasking, Detached Battery,Handwriting recognition, runs mac os...

      But I agree that the Jailbreaking possibilities makes me want one more...

      But again still got my eye one the competition Notion Ink's Adam Tablet****
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      Quote Originally Posted by Carlos View Post
      Memory, Cameras (regular and front facing), More Ports, Multi Tasking, Detached Battery,Handwriting recognition, runs mac os...
      That's like asking for a candy bar, bag of popcorn, a large soda, and oh yeah, the entire movie theater along with all of its franchises.
    1. pyromcr's Avatar
      pyromcr -
      well duh, the thing really is not that portable...
    1. LSZ33's Avatar
      LSZ33 -
      I'm starting to get impatient. Bring on the 3G version. I like options
    1. johnr9412's Avatar
      johnr9412 -
      I'm wondering...would it be able to use the iPhone's sim card for 3g?
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      I think they are going with a micro-simcard. The 250mb/$15 a month is ludicrous. It should be 2.5Gb a month for $15. Half of the $30 plan...
    1. johnr9412's Avatar
      johnr9412 -
      I completly agree with you on that one
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      ill be using the 3G mostly