We've always maintained that signing a two-year contract to get mobile broadband connectivity for your tablet is not a particularly good use of your money and it seems like most U.S. consumers agree. A new study from research firm NPD shows that 65 percent of tablet users only connect via Wi-Fi, up from 60 percent back in April.
"Concern over the high cost of cellular data plans is certainly an issue, but more consumers are finding that Wi-Fi is available in the majority of locations where they use their tablets, providing them ‘good enough’ connectivity," NPD Vice President of Connected Intelligence said in a press release. "In addition, the vast majority of tablet users already own a smartphone, which fulfills the ‘must have’ connectivity need."
There's no word on whether the 35 percent of users who use mobile broadband on their tablets are signed up with 24-month plans and how many are using flexible plans like the one available on the iPad 3G, which lets users enable mobile broadband when they need it or walk away when it gets too expensive. We'd guess that the number of users who buy subsidized tablets that require a two-year commitment like the T-Mobile Springboard or HTC Jetstream is a much smaller percentage of the total.
Manufacturers have also noted consumers' reluctance to make long term commitments and pay big money to keep their tablets connected from the road. More and more new devices like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet don't even have 3G versions available.