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Shocking: Tablet Owners Prefer Free Wi-Fi to Costly Cellular
65% of Tablet Owners Only Connect Via Wi-Fi
by Karl Bode 12:26PM Monday Dec 12 2011
Earlier this year we noted how wireless broadband data pricing (and the higher cost of 3G-enabled tablet models) is keeping carriers from selling as many tablets as they'd like. Users aren't buying 3G-enabled tablets from their wireless ISPs because they prefer using Wi-Fi -- especially as carriers keep imposing low caps and overages up to $10 per gigabyte. Those findings were repeated again this week in a new study by the NPD Group, which noted that 65% of U.S. tablet buyers only connect via Wi-Fi, a number that's up from 60 percent in April.

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"There are multiple reasons for greater Wi-Fi reliance," said NPD's Eddie Hold. "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. In addition, the vast majority of tablet users already own a smartphone, which fulfills the ‘must have’ connectivity need."

The fact that users don't want to add another data plan when they already pay for a cell data plan is a major reason why several carriers plan to introduce family data plans next month. Such plans would involve multiple users and devices being able to pull from one pooled allotment of data, much like voice minutes are sold today.

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justaskin

@sbc.com

What happens when...

these free wifi hotspots go away due to the rising costs of their connections? Are you willing to pay $15-$20 for that starbucks coffee just to get your free wifi?
pandora
Premium
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Outland
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Re: What happens when...

My cell phone provides a Wi-Fi hot spot.

I can pay $20 to Virgin Mobile per month for a mobile hot spot.

Personally I wouldn't want to use a free Wi-Fi hot spot.

My guess is people find it less expensive to get Wi-Fi from cell phones or Mi-Fi devices.
--
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: What happens when...

T-Mobile provides free hotspot on their smart phone plans. and for $10 a month gives you access to the TMO HotSpot network.
pandora
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Re: What happens when...

said by 25139889:

T-Mobile provides free hotspot on their smart phone plans. and for $10 a month gives you access to the TMO HotSpot network.

I pay $25 per month for unlimited internet via Virgin Mobile. I could enable Wi-Fi on some smart phones via the google marketplace with a free app.

My home has 2 Wi-Fi AP's, I have a Mi-Fi, and could enable any of our cell phones to function as a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Why would anyone want to pay for cellular service on a tablet when most have cell phones that can provide free or low cost Wi-Fi?
--
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."
theboz1419

join:2003-02-12
Elgin, IL

Re: What happens when...

said by pandora:

said by 25139889:

T-Mobile provides free hotspot on their smart phone plans. and for $10 a month gives you access to the TMO HotSpot network.

I pay $25 per month for unlimited internet via Virgin Mobile. I could enable Wi-Fi on some smart phones via the google marketplace with a free app.

My home has 2 Wi-Fi AP's, I have a Mi-Fi, and could enable any of our cell phones to function as a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Why would anyone want to pay for cellular service on a tablet when most have cell phones that can provide free or low cost Wi-Fi?

Google app market does not have Hot spot apps anymore
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: What happens when...

But the apps are readily available elsewhere.
theboz1419

join:2003-02-12
Elgin, IL

Re: What happens when...

True

jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH
some apps not all have been blocked from the google market or you could install them directly from the vendor
pandora
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Reviews:
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said by theboz1419:

Google app market does not have Hot spot apps anymore

IIRC the Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V supports tethering, but doesn't show it as an option on any setting screen. A free app called Quick Settings lets you see the tethering option and enable it.

A picture of how it looks is here - »howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-200···timus-v/
--
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

firephoto
We the people
Premium
join:2003-03-18
Brewster, WA
said by justaskin :

these free wifi hotspots go away due to the rising costs of their connections? Are you willing to pay $15-$20 for that starbucks coffee just to get your free wifi?

I used to provide free wifi, it cost $0.00. I could provide free wifi today, it costs $0.00. If someone was to buy a dedicated internet connection and networking equipment to only provide free wifi to others it would have a cost. If you use the internet as part of normal daily activity and make excess bandwidth available to others it's not costing you anything it's called giving.

And connections are not getting more expensive, the service that is imposed on most consumer or business connections is getting more expensive. aka hand holding to not really resolve any issue you might have doesn't come for free.
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FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
said by justaskin :

these free wifi hotspots go away due to the rising costs of their connections? Are you willing to pay $15-$20 for that starbucks coffee just to get your free wifi?

Most of these WiFi only uses for tablets are at home. And home hotspots aren't going away. And if I need a quick stock market check on prices or indexes, or a look at a Facebook alert, or an email, I use my smartphone if WiFi isn't available while out and about.
Wilsdom

join:2009-08-06
Bits aren't made of copper molecules. But it's not unlikely that price gouging will price most people off the internet or that Big Brother will shut down anonymous hotspots...

RR Conductor
NWP RR Inc.,serving NW CA
Premium
join:2002-04-02
Redwood Valley, CA
kudos:1
Here-

McDonald's-Free WiFi
Burger King-Free WiFi
Ukiah Valley Medical Center-Free WiFi
Coffee Shops, not just Starbucks-Free WiFi
Hotels and Motels-Free WiFi

Those are just a few of the free WiFi spots in the Ukiah, CA area, and we're very rural.

PGHammer

join:2003-06-09
Accokeek, MD

Re: What happens when...

And in Accokeek, MD (even more rural than Ukiah, CA - no motels, McDonald's or even a hospital based in town) there is still a (non-standalone) Dunkin Donuts, a Burger King (free wi-fi in both), our local public library (free Internet access via PC *and* free wi-fi) - not to mention (unfortunately) a crapton of unsecured home-based wireless routers. The prevalence of free wi-fi (not to mention home-based wi-fi) is why carriers are requiring even minimum data plans on wifi-capable smartphones (especially VZW - you can't buy an Android phone - all of which are designated smartphones - without a data plan).

KSC519

@comcastbusiness.net
Contrary to what many companies would have you believe, bandwidth is dirt cheap when purchased in bulk. Giving free wifi on a connection that should only cost the hotspot/building owner $10-$30 a month is not unreasonable. I think of wifi the same way I think of air conditioning. No, its not NEEDED to operate a business, but people are more likely to spend time in your establishment and spend more money if you provide useful comforts.
NYC Girl
Premium
join:2007-02-04
Bronx, NY
said by justaskin :

these free wifi hotspots go away due to the rising costs of their connections? Are you willing to pay $15-$20 for that starbucks coffee just to get your free wifi?

NO, I will just turn on my verizon 3G service. I use wifi at home or wherever it is free.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Possible reason

The most popular tablet is an iPad.

The wifi only version is substantially cheaper than the one with the cellular modem built in.

Most of the competing tablets are wifi only as well.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Possible reason

said by fifty nine:

Most of the competing tablets are wifi only as well.

Because the manufacturers are realizing that consumers don't want to pay extra. Even Motorola admits that it screwed up the Xoom launch in regards to a WiFi only option. I expect the "WiFi only" tablet situation to shift towards including a 3G/4G radio when the carriers finally introduce "buckets of bytes".

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: Possible reason

said by openbox9:

said by fifty nine:

Most of the competing tablets are wifi only as well.

Because the manufacturers are realizing that consumers don't want to pay extra. Even Motorola admits that it screwed up the Xoom launch in regards to a WiFi only option. I expect the "WiFi only" tablet situation to shift towards including a 3G/4G radio when the carriers finally introduce "buckets of bytes".

Most tablets are used primarily in fixed locations, close to wired internet connections that have wifi attached.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Possible reason

said by fifty nine:

Most tablets are used primarily in fixed locations

Great for the segment of owners that leave their tablets in their residences. However, I'm seeing more and more tablets out and about when traveling. WiFi (paid or free) may or may not be readily available to those mobile users.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

Re: Possible reason

I use my ipad 2 everywhere. Work supplies me with a phone that can act as a hotspot and a 4G Mifi. The Ipad + mifi is a better option anyways because you can share it across many devices and many operating systems.
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD
said by fifty nine:

The most popular tablet is an iPad.

The wifi only version is substantially cheaper than the one with the cellular modem built in.

Most of the competing tablets are wifi only as well.

Maybe I am making an assumption but maybe they are comparing the amount of tablets bought in cell phone stores getting service and those that are not.

It would be better if they were comparing only the sales of tablets that had the cellular modem and whether or not they got service in the first place.

Mike
Premium,Mod
join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
It's also popular cellular networks across the board all blow in the US and it's not even worth getting milked for garbage service.

firephoto
We the people
Premium
join:2003-03-18
Brewster, WA
said by fifty nine:

The wifi only version is substantially cheaper than the one with the cellular modem built in.

Retail price does not matter when a wifi device does not come with a monthly rental fee.

Fortunately for now most people aren't falling into the trap of buying dedicated data for each device. Data is data so I don't need service from a company that divides my data between different devices or in most cases restricts one device from using anothers data.
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fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: Possible reason

said by firephoto:

said by fifty nine:

The wifi only version is substantially cheaper than the one with the cellular modem built in.

Retail price does not matter when a wifi device does not come with a monthly rental fee.

iPad data plans can be shut off and restarted at any time. Besides, the GSM ones are unlocked so you can use any SIM.

if I were to get one I would get a GSM one but not because of the data plan but because the GSM chipset is necessary for GPS.
me1212

join:2008-11-20
Pleasant Hill, MO
Actually the kindle recently top it in sales, and the most used tablet OS is android.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

WiFi Almost Everywhere Here

I got my first iPhone back in October on Sprint but I have been using iPod Touch devices since 2010 and a WiFi only iPad 2 since earlier this year. As such, seeking out WiFi for the devices became a priority early on. One of the benefits of Cablevision's service here on Long Island is their Optimum WiFi service which is available in just about every business area on the island. I find myself connected to that most of the time and my iPhone 4S is usually connected through that service these days. I use very little 3G service which is a good thing considering the Sprint 3G speeds are so slow. Also, one need only go to a restaurant or mall these days and you will find WiFi hotspots (Starbucks and McDonalds to name two).
--
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NYC Girl
Premium
join:2007-02-04
Bronx, NY

Re: WiFi Almost Everywhere Here

said by n2jtx:

I got my first iPhone back in October on Sprint but I have been using iPod Touch devices since 2010 and a WiFi only iPad 2 since earlier this year. As such, seeking out WiFi for the devices became a priority early on. One of the benefits of Cablevision's service here on Long Island is their Optimum WiFi service which is available in just about every business area on the island. I find myself connected to that most of the time and my iPhone 4S is usually connected through that service these days. I use very little 3G service which is a good thing considering the Sprint 3G speeds are so slow. Also, one need only go to a restaurant or mall these days and you will find WiFi hotspots (Starbucks and McDonalds to name two).

Youre lucky. I live in the Bronx and spend most of my I time in manhattan so the only time I get to use optimumwifi is on my terrace which is slow and now I no longer need it between my router and Verizon network extender. They CLAIM they have partners in NY; however, I have yet to find them. I can access Time Warner wifi on my terrace. Uugghhhh.

93388818
It's cool, I'm takin it back
Premium
join:2000-03-14
Dallas, TX

Few People

I think for what most of the folks out there use their tablets for, they don't really need that 3G "connect anytime-anywhere" functionality.

I know for my tablet, most of the time, I only need connectivity at home.
chances14

join:2010-03-03
Michigan

Re: Few People

said by 93388818:

I think for what most of the folks out there use their tablets for, they don't really need that 3G "connect anytime-anywhere" functionality.

Yup. I mostly just use my tablet at home or at school, which has wifi available

I know for my tablet, most of the time, I only need connectivity at home.


ctceo
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South Bend, IN
Reviews:
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1 edit

Even more

In even more shocking news, people prefer free anything as opposed to just free wi-fi.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the portability of a tablet pc??? Does anybody care to fund my research? I might have stumbled upon something here.

i1me2ao
Premium
join:2001-03-03
TEXAS

uses

what i do and see other people do using wifi only.

sit on couch - larger than cell phone screen.

read paper while i am restaruant eating.

playing angry birds while waiting at dr office.

waiting on wife - look up useless crap usually wifi avaiable and i live on boonies.

kids playing out side check email - pay bills
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Rudie32
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
San Diego, CA
kudos:4

eh..

I HATE using free wifi. It's usually parental filtered (Like Nazi mode) or beyond slow! The starbucks near me has the slowest wifi ever. Edge is faster.

Noah Vail
Son made my Avatar
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join:2004-12-10
Lorton, VA
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Reviews:
·Bright House

Free WiFi helps solve Cell Tower/Backhaul Overload

Caps are the CellCo's answer to overloaded cellular packet networks.

If they have fewer cellular data customers clogging up their networks, then they will have less crowded networks.

We could all show support for cell providers by terminating our data plans.

NV
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My thoughts...

I don't think this one is as much of a shocker. Some tablets can cost more than laptops do. Since tablets are way more popular than laptops currently, this might be more of a security issue, than say cell issue.

A security cable for laptops is as cheap as $13, and most laptops are not much greater than $300-400 if stolen. An iPad by itself is what $499 starting? add in a 3G/4G plan or even an independent 3g/4g hotspot and it gets costly and quick. I can see really quickly why most wouldn't want to leave the house with it. True... android tablets would be cheaper, but that wouldn't make you any less of a quick 5 finger discount sale target at your local smash and grab.

Something I could see myself being careful with, than leaving it in a car.

My wife asked if I wanted a tablet this year and I promptly said "no, I have my laptop."

Honestly, I think there are way more security issues than cell issues.
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Happydude32
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1

Where is all the free wifi?

I’m on the road during the week for work. I’m all around the Buffalo and Rochester, NY areas and don’t see all this magical free wifi. McDonalds, Starbucks, and some hotels and unsecured home connections account for 95% of the wifi hotspots I come across. I bought a wifi only tablet, the HTC Flyer, had it for two days and returned it for it’s twin brother, the HTC Evo View on Sprint. Having a wifi only tablet is utterly useless. Here I am in the Best Buy parking lot, all excited, wanting to set up and play with my new toy but can’t. Had to drive a few miles down the road to a supermarket and park close enough to the store so I could pick up their wifi for the café. Plus I’m not a fan of wifi at all. Just don’t like 802.11 wireless technology as a whole. I’d rather use my own connection. And I wouldn’t’ dream of tethering my phone. Due to the crappy nature of wifi, when being wirelessly tethered no doubt you’ll lose some speed and increase your ping in the process.

I have a Sprint USB air card to use for my laptop and I have a data plan for my tablet to use when I’m away from home. I can’t imagine being stuck using free wifi. Plus most businesses probably cheap out on their internet. My 3G connection is probably just as fast, if not slightly faster than most establishments free wifi, and when I’m in Rochester I’m hitting upwards of 20Mb down on 4G, I’ll pass on the wireless.

My tablet is only 7 inches and is running Gingerbread. I REALLY like Sony’s 9.4” Tablet S, but’s it’s wifi only. Sorry, no sale. I have no problems at all paying extra for a more reliable and stable way to access information on the go then just relying on crappy free wifi.
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ZZink

join:2002-06-16
Etobicoke
Reviews:
·TekSavvy Cable

500+ tablet?

If you are a smart shopper and not a apple fanboi than you can get a tablet for $200.

My tablet specs
8' display 800x400
HDMI out full 1080p HD playback
1.5Ghz dual core with half a gig of DDR3 Memory
FIVE point touch screen
Wifi
8Gig internal memory and up to 64gig of extended memory
Front and back 3 megapixal cemra
a mic, usb connection

All for a wooping $140 with free shipping from China

Only drawbacks no LED lights under navigation buttons and rather crappy wifi antenna (still does 10Mbps down within 15 feet of router, but anymore and it loses all bars).

I had to root the tablet to get android market, took me 10 minutes to do so.

So what was that about $500+ for a tablet?

HuaweiGuy

@comcast.net

Personally I don't care...

I still have unlimited data through Centennial Wireless as we're still under contract from before the AT&T merger. Sure it may be at EDGE speed but I can still watch HBO Go on it, browse the net, and listen to pandora. I'm good.
05678973

join:2011-11-30
Cottontown, TN

DUH!!!

wifi...free.....service provider equals bandwidth cap which would you prefer???
Sukunai
Premium
join:2008-05-07
kudos:1
Reviews:
·ELECTRONICBOX

I don't even need a connection to begin with

I have a tablet, an ePad Transformer to be specific.

I take it with me here and there. I watch video on it or I read books on it and of course I can play games on it.

To me it is an adult sized Nintendo DS. Not a puny screened gaming doodad that can really only play games but an large screened doodad that can COMFORTABLE display a book, or a video and additionally play games on a screen that doesn't render my focus trashed after 15 minutes of use thanks to squinting to look at a screen that is simply to small.

I don't need Facebook so damned bad I can't wait till I get home.
I don't need to browse the web and forums, because really, the on screen keyboard is going to be a painfully inefficient method of typing. And if I wanted a keyboard well I might as well carry around my laptop eh.

I don't need wifi, nor wireless. I don't need crummy free nor expensive superior roaming internet. I can do all my online at home.

I have 32 gigs of data space not including the sd card option of 32 gig more. I looked the other day and my entire reference library of just about ANY book I have in e form, wouldn't use up all 32 gigs to begin with. So my primary reason for having a tablet (to read it at Tim Horton's) is safe.

Not that I am the dominant example of individual. I don't have a cell phone, and simply do NOT want one, nor the expense, nor the inane calls from friends that want to talk about nothing when I'd rather be left alone to walk along the street in peace listening to my music on my cheap as dirt crummy mp3 player.