Tablets are Driving Net New Mobile Connections in U.S. Market
Tablets with mobile connections now are driving net connection growth in the U.S. mobile market for most of the largest national service providers.
Mobile tablet connections grew about 46 percent in 2013, according to researchers at NPD.
For AT&T, in particular, tablet subscribers are a large part of what's driving net subscriber additions. Some 440,000 of AT&T's net new postpaid subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2013 were tablet connections.
“Connected devices” (tablets, principally) drove net mobile additions at AT&T during the third quarter of 2013, as did U-verse broadband services in the fixed network segment.
AT&T added nearly one million net mobile subscribers, including 63,000 mobile postpaid accounts and 192,000 prepaid accounts.
But connected device net adds were 719,000, or 73 percent of net additions.
Verizon Wireless added 625,000 tablet subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2013, but nearly one million more handset subscribers in the fourth quarter.
Sprint added 58,000 net new postpaid subscribers in the fourth quarter and 466,000 tablet subscribers.
T-Mobile US alone seems to be adding more phone than tablet connections. But that is likely why T-Mobile US has launched its new connected tablet promotion.
New Street Research predicts Verizon Wireless will find that many of the predicted 485,000 net subscribers for the first quarter of 2014 will be do so to connect their tablets.
AT&T Mobility is expected to add 229,000 net new subscribers in the quarter, again on the strength of tablet accounts.
Sprint probably will lose 247,000 postpaid accounts, but tablet additions will help.
T-Mobile US, which has been showing strong quarterly net additions for more than a year, "could easily add" 1.1 million net new subscribers in the first quarter of 2014. T-Mobile US might be the carrier that adds the greatest percentage of traditional phone accounts.