iPad, LTE, Shared Data Plans Will Make Tablets A $15 Billion Business For Carriers by 2017


The new iPad's LTE success seen igniting a serious new revenue stream for carriers.
The new iPad's LTE success seen igniting a serious new revenue stream for carriers.

The LTE version of the new iPad may cost $130 more than the Wi-Fi version, but the throughput that LTE delivers makes the iPad into a phenomenal mobile solution. The performance easily tops a large segment of home broadband services, which delivers tremendous value. Add the free personal hotspot feature available to Verizon customers and a MacBook Air (or other notebook) and you get a powerful business solution for professionals on the road.

Right now only 13% of iPad/tablet users worldwide have an active mobile broadband subscription, but that will change significantly over the next five years according a new report by research firm Strategy Analytics. The potential that the new iPad with LTE offers both mobile professionals and consumers will be one the key factors contributing to that change.

Strategy Analytics projects that by 2017, the iPad and other tablets with active mobile broadband accounts will become a key fixture on the bottom lines of carriers around the world and will amount to a $15 billion business. That growth translates to carriers adding 150 million new iPad/tablet users with LTE devices and service.

According to Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Director, Mobile Broadband Opportunities (MBO) at Strategy Analytics, this trend will be driven by the performance delivered by LTE service and the adoption by carriers of shared data plans like those announced this year by Verizon and AT&T.

Less than 13% of the global tablet installed base will have active mobile broadband service in 2012, yet in the US, both AT&T and Verizon Wireless saw tablets play a key role in net subscriber additions in Q2 this year. Service revenues from tablets will be an important incremental growth source for mobile operators, with global tablet service revenues reaching US$15 billion in 2017. Multi-device shared data plans and 4G LTE are key drivers for tablet subscriptions.

It’s worth mentioning that the new iPad, which was the first Apple device to ship with LTE support, was the primary tablet driving Q2 LTE customers to AT&T and Verizon.

In addition to LTE service and shared pricing, Strategy Analytics also predicts video will help push iPad and tablet customers to choose LTE options. The report was based on trends across 37 countries and also notes that mobile data traffic from tablets will surge to more than 2.7 million Terabytes in 2017.

Source: Strategy Analytics