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4G LTE and Shared Data Plans to Fuel 8x Growth
Posted: 08-May-2013 [Source: Strategy Analytics]

[Tablet data plan momentum builds despite continued smartphone boom, according to this study.]

Boston, MA -- Despite continued strong growth of smartphones and the prevalence of WiFi only tablets, mobile broadband subscriptions on connected tablets will expand rapidly in the next five years. Strategy Analytics forecasts global mobile broadband subscriptions on tablets will grow 8x from 2012 to 2017—as more than 165 million new tablets activate mobile data services.

The Strategy Analytics Wireless Operator Strategies (WOS) service report, "Tablets at Mobile Operators: Forecasts of Tablet Subscriptions, Data Traffic, Service Revenue 2010-2017," projects that in 2017 global mobile tablet subscriptions will contribute nearly US$20 billion to operator service revenues and generate almost 3 and a half million Terabytes of mobile data traffic. With the new iPad setting the technology benchmark, 4G LTE quickly becomes the access technology of choice and will account for more than 80 percent of all mobile broadband tablet subscriptions by the end of 2017.

The most important near-term driver for tablet subscriptions is operator tariffs that aim to stimulate more tablet connections. In particular, service plans allowing multiple devices to share a pooled data allocation on a single data plan, such as those offered by AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Turkcell and later this year the Vodafone Red plans, are driving subscriptions directly on tablets, as are lower cost SIM-only prepaid tariffs for tablets. Other approaches to drive connections include bundling connectivity options out-of-the-box for tablets, such as the 4G Connect "comes-with-data" model launched by T-Mobile USA and HP initially on notebooks or the just announced Dell NetReady solution offering integrated 3G mobile connectivity from Telefonica for notebooks and tablets in a pan-European, pay-as-you-go model targeting enterprises.

"Mobile broadband tablets represent an important incremental growth opportunity for wireless operators. While direct mobile broadband subscriptions on tablets represent less than 10 percent of the total tablet installed base in 2012, they were a key driver of positive postpaid net additions at leading operators AT&T and Verizon Wireless in Q1 2013," notes Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Director, Wireless Operators & Networks at Strategy Analytics.

Phil Kendall, Director, Wireless Operator Strategies, adds, "US, China, Japan and UK will be leading markets for tablet subscriptions, but we also anticipate strong growth in emerging markets of Brazil and India where video content and network upgrades will drive demand for wide-area connectivity on tablets."

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