Elementary school student reading from a tablet computer or an iPad in the classroom.
Blame it on the high cost of data plans and the lack of family packages, but most tablet owners rely only on Wi-Fi connections
The study by Connected Intelligence showed that, in October, 65 percent of 300 tablet users use only Wi-Fi connections, a rise of 5 percent since April.
The reasons for Wi-Fi are obvious -- if one already has an iPhone or Droid Bionic, why pay for a second data plan for an iPad or Galaxy Tab? The second reason for the drop is that Wi-Fi is now ubiquitous. “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," said Eddie Hold, vice president of Connected Intelligence.
Wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T, which serve to Android and Apple smartphones, are attempting to combat the growing number of tablet owners not using their service by offering (albeit far in the future) family data plans. The family data plan has been used for the last year in Europe, but both carriers have been dragging their feet despite dissatisfaction with the current plans.
“Customers don’t want — and neither do we, by the way — want an individual account for each one of those devices,” Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam told AllThingsD. “It drives them crazy and it would raise our costs a lot. Getting to one bill and having account-level pricing is the right way to go.”
So why wait? To cynical people, it might be that both companies think they can squeeze a few more bucks out of users on data plans before they start cutting deals. However, if both companies look at this study, it identifies that tablet owners are using common sense by not paying for two data plans. Wireless carriers have to start offering family data plans or risk losing tablet computer users forever to Wi-Fi.