Bad News For Carriers 9 Out Of 10 Tablets Sold Are Wi-Fi

With the phenomenal sales of the iPad reported this weekend by both AT&T and Apple, A new study may quickly change. However, wireless industry expert Chetan Sharma has released a study on tablets as part of his Wireless Market Update Report, that may have carriers worried about tablets.

Sharma shows in his research that wifi tablets are outselling cellular enabled tablets at a rate of 90%.  The reason for this can most likely be contributed to the fact that, aside from the iPad, a tablet with cellular data capabilities comes with a 2 year contract. The iPad can be purchased with cellular connectivity and the data can be purchased monthly.

Most people are finding that it’s just as easy to tether a tablet to your smartphone or your home or office network. I personally believe that this surgence in wifi larger screen tablets is going to be what drives the phoneblet category like the Galaxy Note and the LG Vu.

More after the break

As GigaOm’s Kevin Tofel suggests, the long two year contracts required with a tablet make it obsolete when the two years is up. At this stage in the game, regular tablet users are still mostly early adopters who will must likely change their device before a two year contract would run out.¬† Taking the data hit on tethering vs a cellular enabled tablet means that you can tether anything you want and change devices freely.

Tofel is reserved about cellular enabled tablets, as am I. He does think that carriers converting to shared buckets of data may change the landscape for cellular enabled tablets.

Personally the subsidy that comes along with a two year commitment from a carrier for a tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is so insignificant that you might as well eat the cost in tethering and get a wifi only model.

source: GigaOM