Analyst: One in 10 tablets sold has a cellular connection

People aren't willing to pay for mobile connectivity for their tablets

It's clear that people are willing to pay for new tablets, but it's also clear that they aren't yet ready to take on the fee for cellular connectivity to it, according to an analyst.

Just one of every 10 tablets sold uses a cellular connection, Chetan Sharma of Chetan Sharma Consulting revealed in a report on Tuesday.

Since most tablet owners typically also have a smartphone, they appear to be reluctant to pay for both services. Sharma expects that carriers want to attract those users and will soon make changes so that tablet cellular plans are more attractive. "Operators who start to bundle multiple devices by single data plans and data buckets are going to see a better yield in this category," Sharma said.

Anecdotally, the LTE version of the new iPad seemed less popular in one East Coast town on the day the new tablets went on sale.

Operators aren't the only companies trying to keep pace with the changing market for computing products. By 2014 in the U.S., Sharma expects that more than 200 million smartphones and emerging devices will ship, up from under 50 million in 2009. But the computer market will grow at a much slower rate, with shipments up from just over 50 million in 2009 to still under 100 million in 2014.

"More than anything else, the old guard is having a tough time adjusting to the new computing paradigm," Sharma said. He pointed to Hewlett-Packard and Dell as examples of traditional computer powerhouses which have failed to launch a decent tablet or smartphone.

Sharma expects to see the mobile industry reach an important milestone in early 2013. That's when he predicts that data revenues will exceed voice revenues in the U.S. market for the first time.

Sharma covered a wide range of additional topics in his quarterly report, including mobile subscriber growth, smartphone sales and patent awards.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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