Survey: New iPad users like LTE but think it's too expensive

Users of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPad praised its LTE connectivity as a top feature but also rated the cost of wireless carriers' data plans as one of their biggest issues with the overall experience on the device, according to a survey conducted by ChangeWave Research.

Click here for details from ChangeWave's study

The survey of 200 new iPad owners, conducted March 22-28, found that LTE capability was rated as the best feature of the gadget by 21 percent of respondents, similar to longer battery life and the device's faster processor (the new iPad's high-definition Retina Display was far and away the highest-rated feature). Overall, 82 percent of survey respondents said they were "very satisfied" with the new iPad. 

However, according to the survey, among the major dislikes of the new iPad was the "cost of wireless data plans," which ranked as users' second-biggest gripe, right behind the cost of the device itself. Those two concerns outpaced other dislikes, including the size and weight the tablet and the amount of flash memory storage.

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) have launched the new iPad in the United States, and each offer no-contract data pricing for the device. AT&T offers 250 MB of LTE data for $15 per month, 3 GB for $30 and 5 GB for $50. Verizon offers 1 GB for $20 per month, 2 GB for $30, 5 GB for $50 and 10 GB for $80.

The dissatisfaction with the price of data plans could explain why most tablet users, and iPad users especially, have chosen Wi-Fi as their preferred means of connectivity. According to a recent report from Localytics, which derived its data based on app usage it observed, around 89.7 percent of all iPads sold can only connect to Wi-Fi networks. The firm found that 8.8 percent of iPads in the market can connect to 3G networks and 1.5 percent can connect to LTE networks.

A recent report from Chetan Sharma Consulting found that 90 percent of tablet users are only using Wi-Fi, even if the tablets have cellular data capabilities, which Sharma wrote meant that the operator channel is not a necessary tablet distribution channel. Sharma said family data pans that bundle multiple devices together in a single data plan could help alleviate the issue for carriers.

For more:
- see this ChangeWave report

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