AT&T sees Wi-Fi only tablets going the way of the dinosaur

AT&T sees Wi-Fi only tablets going the way of the dinosaur
We could see tablet makers eliminate the Wi-Fi only models if AT&T President of Emerging Devices Glenn Lurie is correct. Lurie says that the price of adding 3G connectivity has been coming down and that adding a 3G HSPA+ radio to a tablet costs only $30, while it costs $60 to $70 to add an LTE radio. As the price continues to drop, Lurie sees tablet manufacturers dropping the production of Wi-Fi only tablets and instead, offering devices with both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Speaking at CTIA, Lurie said this would work out better for consumers, carriers and manufacturers. AT&T is said to be discussing with tablet producers the idea of making units with both cellular and Wi-Fi support although the carrier says it is happy with the current sales rate of cellular-equipped tablets.

Considering that the big player in the tablet market is Apple, it might require the Cupertino based firm to make the first move before others follow. That might be difficult considering that as of March, the majority of Apple iPads sold were of the Wi-Fi only kind. Even on 3G and 4G enabled Apple iPads, the majority of web traffic comes via a Wi-Fi connection. With that thought in mind, it might be some time before Wi-Fi only tablets become extinct. Apple adds $130 to the price of its tablet for a cellular connection vs. $50 for other manufacturers. But even if it cost only $30 to add a 3G connection to a tablet, Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at IDC, says that with OEMs "sweating over nickels and quarters," even that amount is too much for them to justify adding 3G connectivity. O'Donnell says that carriers should open up data plans that cover more than one device and that will have consumers rushing to the stores to buy 3G or 4G enabled tablets.

source: Macworld via electronista

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28 Comments

1. Sailingmaster

Posts: 24; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

Hey Glenn, or Moron. Have you looked at what you charge for Mobile Broadband? So about that... WiFi tablets aren't going anywhere anytime soon. At least not for AT&T customers.

9. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

The folks at AT&T must be taking stupid pills each day. The moment they dropped unlimited data, WiFi's future was assured. Consumers are not going to willingly let carriers pick their pocket with overage charges. WiFi is how the consumer can fight back against carriers' tiered data plans.

23. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Absolutely.....I was looking at a Samsung Tab 10.1 and to get a carrier 3g/4g version I would be paying 89.00 a month for 24 months almost $1800.00 more just by being subscription based.....Hell to the NO! Buy a wifi unit for $349-$649.00 out right and save your money. If I need connections on the go I have a smart phone I am getting nickel and dimed on!

2. imkyle

Posts: 1115; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

Motorola Xoom on Verizon still has honeycomb while the Wi-Fi model has the latest ice cream sandwich update. Enough said. Get a grip.

3. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

If you get rid of wi-fi only tablets the tablet market will lose a lot of growth. Not all of us have the money to pay for data on our phones and tablets.

4. AndroidShiz

Posts: 154; Member since: Nov 08, 2011

Yup. And Google is the reason for your slow Android updates for all your Androids. Speaking of awesome advice, att should do like Nokia and just sell Windows phones, heck maybe even invest heavily in BlackBerry. They are the future to att growth. That and 4g tablets are a win win.

24. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

I think Windows 8 pads will be the pads to own in the future....mark my words. Being able to extend my desk top tower from anywhere in the home and on the go will reign supreme. Windows will change the way the tab direction goes if they do wifi, and integrate phones, tablets, desktops, with the Kinect, Xbox Live, Home security, all to Home server. The UI should be consistent, and rolled out at the same time for all devices! BTW Carriers different versions are responsible for slow Android roll outs. Carriers want to control what you can and cant do with a phone, like messaging, and things like voice chat because they want to nickel and dime you for those services to bolster their stock. Google wanted to give that all away for free, but these companies want to monetize that stuff for big profits...i.e. throttling for higher contract fees. So they block those features and keep you from hacking to keep them blocked for ever, and then offer those services fro free. Imagine on your internet subscription at home they try to make you pay for I.M. messages, and video chat.

5. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Yes we need to be locked into more contracts and add more things to our monthly bills. Uh no dont think so.

6. Goldeneye

Posts: 419; Member since: Jan 22, 2011

You wish! No Wi-Fi model? Good luck selling those things.

7. Giggity

Posts: 147; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Geez, more nonsense from AT&T? Seems like they all having a good time with their little Woodstock party this week.

8. rayman173

Posts: 61; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

WTH has this guy been drinking.....not everyone wants to be locked into a contract with a 3G/4G model.....plus not everyone has the data plan for one.....cmon now a little thinking might help once in a while

10. jlscott777

Posts: 45; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I am a printed circuit board designer and I can tell you $30.00 for a single part is huge when talking a hundred thousand units, let alone the numbers of Ipads that are going out there, the manufacturing guys worry about 30 cent parts, it will be a long time before they can just throw in an LTE radio and not raise the price of the final product.

11. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

NO. my sweet sweet Asus Prime is doing so well, and having a 3G or 4G tablet for me is too wasteful since I am on prepaid.

12. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Statements like this as well as AT&T's dubious customer service and outrageous data prices make me wonder why they are the US' largest carrier. I'll admit to not having looked into the matter at all, but seriously, it seems like nobody ever has anything good to say about AT&T, and from the latest deluge of comments from their CEO et al, I can't say I blame them.

14. alx33

Posts: 32; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Verizon is the world's largest carrier and they're WAY more overpriced.

17. bigbmc26

Posts: 43; Member since: May 10, 2012

Uh, the "world's" largest carrier would be China Mobile with more than 655 million subcribers. Don't think Verizon is any where near close to that, buddy. Verizon has the most subcribers in the US...

18. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Really? I've got 3 smartphones (Thunderbolt and a pair of Droid2's), unlimited data and texting on all three, 1400 shared minutes with unlimited calling to 10 Friends and Family and all VZW numbers for $158/month (not including taxes). On ATT, it would run me $189 with only 300mb per phone. On T-Mo, $205 with 2gb full speed, but unlimited talk On Sprint, $180 with 1500 minutes I get an employer discount on my primary line of 19%, I'm not sure what discount I'd get on the others. It saves me $21 a month, so with out it I'd be looking at $179, on par with Sprint for cheapest.

28. greathero1

Posts: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 2008

Thats b/c you are on an older plan. 2gb of data for 3 users is $90 now. 1400 minutes with unlimited text for 3 users is $129. Verizon is high as hell dude. Good that you got in when you did. The good thing about ATT is that you can actually go with the 700 minute plan and adding family text for $30 will get you unlimited to ANY mobile. So $109 for voice and text plus $75 for 2 gb of data for 3 users. ATTs trump card is the unlimited to any mobile which is automatic whenever you add unlimited text.

15. DigitalMD

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 17, 2010

I wonder where they find these bozos to be CEO and vice presidents for major cell carriers. I'd love that kind of pay for making up garbage and running my mouth about nonsense.

22. djg71087

Posts: 70; Member since: Oct 10, 2010

With the spectrum crisis & Apple growing immensely, Seems like CEO's are kind of freaking. Especially, since they need to keep their shareholders happy. I too, do not understand why they continue to "yap yap" away...

16. parkwaydr

Posts: 572; Member since: Sep 07, 2011

Uhh sorry I will stop using tablets before I lock into a contract.

19. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

And I read that Comcast CEO believes that they'll stop building TVs that accept OTA signals. And the CEO of XM/Sirius thinks manufacturers will stop making AM/FM radios. CEO executives seem to live in some alternate reality, where lies are truth and people love to waste money. I have no desire for a tablet anyway, but I damned sure wouldn't buy one that tied me to a carrier for data, especially at the price/capacity of current plans.

20. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Can someone please gag ATT execs? lol. then again, it does make for news we can all make fun of together. :)

21. quryous

Posts: 106; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

As usual, ATT (professes it) doesn't get it. It is NOT the cost of the tablet, it is the cost of USING it that makes a difference. Their so called PLANS are only plans on how to get your money from YOUR pocket into THEIRS.

25. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

the more I hear someone form ATT talk the more I like being in big red...

26. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ha, there is a reason they are nicknamed the "evil empire". at least we can all unite in making fun of ATT execs.. if only for a moment.

27. Sakmann67

Posts: 29; Member since: May 22, 2010

All devices should have all capabilities built in from the beginning.The ecosystem was a little out of balance."- Glenn Lurie. I will translate. "I am an AT&T Corporate Pussy and I am in charge of our tablet market share and It's not high enough, so I will denounce Wifi Tablets as just a passing trend."

29. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

ID10T

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