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AT&T sees Wi-Fi-only tablets giving way to 3G

updated 07:38 pm EDT, Wed May 9, 2012

Lower costs will enable more 3G tablets

In light of a steady decline in the cost of integrating 3G hardware, AT&T President of Emerging Devices Glenn Lurie believes tablet makers will eventually stop producing Wi-Fi only models, instead opting to make only tablets featuring both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Speaking at the CTIA Wireless trade show, Lurie said he believes this sort of wireless consolidation would work out well for carriers, consumers, and manufacturers.

According to Lurie, it costs device makers about $30 to add a 3G HSPA+ radio to a tablet, while LTE radios cost $60 to $70. As the added cost continues to fall, Lurie expects that more and more manufacturers will begin offering devices with consolidated Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, as doing so would cut down on the marketing, manufacturing, and inventory costs associated with offering multiple designs.

With the tablet market still dominated by Apple, though, it might take movement from the sector's biggest player to get manufacturers moving toward consolidated connectivity in earnest. The majority of iPads sold, though, were still Wi-Fi only as of March, and 3G traffic still accounts for a small percentage of iPad Web traffic. Even on 3G and 4G-enabled iPads, solid majorities of traffic come from Wi-Fi connections. Considering these figures, it may be some time yet before Lurie's forecast connectivity convergence gains momentum. [via Macworld]



By Electronista Staff
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