Report: Tablets to generate $15B in mobile data revenues by 2017

The number of tablets with cellular data connectivity is going to soar by the end of 2017 to seven times the amount today, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics. The report contradicts another recent analyst report from CCS Insight, which predicted that the share of tablets with built-in cellular connectivity will decline over the next four years.

Click here for additional tablet details from Strategy Analytics.

According to the Strategy Analytics report, in 2012 there will be 24 million tablets with active mobile data subscriptions around the world, making up 12.5 percent of the total tablet installed base of 192 million. By the end of 2017, Strategy Analytics predicts the 24 million figure will skyrocket to 172 million.

Strategy Analytics analyst Susan Welsh de Grimaldo said at the end of 2016, tablets with active cellular data subscriptions will represent 18 percent of the total installed base. The research firm does not yet have an estimation for what the percentage will be at the end of 2017, she said. 

Global tablet data service revenues are expected to reach $15 billion in 2017, the research firm said. Multi-device data plans and the proliferation of LTE will be the key catalysts for the growth, the firm said, with LTE accounting for nearly 68 percent of mobile broadband tablet subscriptions by the end of 2017

The new report contrasts with a recent CCS Insight report, which found that that 48 percent of tablet shipments in 2011 were cellular-enabled, much higher than the percentage measured by Strategy Analytics. CCS Insight expects the share of cellular-enabled tablets will slowly diminish to 37 percent in 2016.

The debate seems to turn on how much LTE and shared date plans will encourage customers to sign up for and actually use tablets with cellular data connectivity.

Currently, cellular connectivity does not seem to be a major concern for U.S. customers when deciding which tablet to purchase, according to a separate comScore report. In comScore's TabletLens report, based on a three-month rolling sample of 6,000 U.S. tablet owners, the research firm found that that the selection of applications and the price of the tablet led as the most important factors for consumers when deciding which tablet to buy. The brand of the tablet and the tablet operating system were also important factors--but tellingly, comScore did not even include "cellular connectivity" as a consideration in its report, according to a statement announcing the report.

For more:
- see this Strategy Analytics release
- see this comScore release

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