Analyst: LTE iPads Will See Decaying Demand
As the wireless carriers in the U.S. continue extending their LTE networks across the country, a recent market analysis is suggesting that most users will eventually choose not to buy LTE iPads and other 3G/4G-enabled tablets. The research firm CCS Insight, says the demand for iPads and other tablets that have built-in mobile broadband support will continue to drop the next four years. The company says that Apple and other tablet manufacturers are likely to reduce the number of tablets they produce with built-in cellular connectivity as a result of this predicted change.
According to the estimates, the drop in the number of devices with cellular connectivity is going to be roughly 48% in 2011 to about 37% by 2016. The company notes that the majority of the users that purchase iPads/tablets with mobile broadband prefer to use Wi-Fi and rarely use 3G/4G data services. Most users donít regard cellular connectivity in tablets as a must-have feature, especially given the current price of tablets and the mobile data subscriptions.
The availability and attractiveness of multi-device tariffs from mobile operators, of public Wi-Fi networks, and the difference between the retail prices of cellular and Wi-Fi only tablets are the three factors that will help determine the share of cellular-enabled tablets in the future. Another study which was conducted earlier this year by a research firm named Localytics
, indicates that only 6% of iPad sessions were made over 3G or LTE connections. When broken down further, it showed that users with LTE iPads connected using LTE roughly one-third (36%) of the time. This goes to show that 3G/4G connectivity on iPads isn't that popular to begin with. The data here backs up what CCS Insight is predicting for the future.
One thing to note though is that both AT&T and Verizon have launched their shared data plans at this point and they havenít been available long enough to make any analysis on how they may impact the markets for tablets and smartphones in the immediate future or long-term. Shared data plans may certainly make LTE iPads more attractive than they previously were but itís uncertain as of right now. Weíll have to wait and see how things turn out in the future by being patient.