01 Mar 2011
While the opportunity for increasing ARPU exists, Ovum analyst Tim Renowden warns not all forms of tablets could benefit operators. “Tablets will be a significant part of operators’ plans, though many tablets will be shipped WiFi-only and sold through retail channels, limiting the opportunity for operators,” Renowden said.
“Cellular-connected tablets are high-ARPU devices, but depending on whether carriers will offer them subsidised or sell data connectivity via SIM-only plans will have an impact on the size of the ARPU lift.”
But Renowden added that WiFi-only tablets still required connectivity that could be provided by cellular WiFi hotspots, smartphone tethering and dongles.
“It is clear that tablets provide a strong device category that can be used to sell additional data plans to consumers and business customers, and operators are preparing to exploit this.”
Renowden feels media tablet adoption will be slow in countries with limited purchasing power, due to the devices' relatively high price tags.
However, mass-market adoption may occur as lower-cost tablets inevitably emerge – providing operators in these markets with ARPU boosting opportunities.