Tablets have emerged as a huge growth driver for carriers looking to supplement revenues after the loss of income from text and voice.
According to new research from Recon Analytics, tablets account for 61 percent of postpaid net adds across the four major carriers from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2014.
Recon founder Roger Entner, attributes the growing popularity to the decreasing cost of wireless service, as well as the tablets themselves.
Entner notes that even as Sprint has struggled over the past year, tablets have been a sign of hope for the carrier.
“While Sprint lost almost 2.4 million branded phone connections in the last four quarters, it gained almost 1.8 million new tablet connections,” Entner noted in the report. “Losing 600,000 postpaid branded connections is nothing to write home about, but without its tablet sales, results would have been even more devastating.”
Over the time period covered by the report, Verizon added 3.5 million new postpaid branded tablets, twice as many as AT&T.
“With more than two thirds of its postpaid branded net additions coming from tablets, Verizon Wireless had the highest net postpaid branded subscriber net additions,” Enter noted but added that because the majority of the growth was meeting the needs of current customers rather than new customers, those numbers “significantly overestimates the strength of the customer acquisition engine of Verizon Wireless.”
Entner argues that perhaps the only weakness in T-Mobile’s recent growth trajectory has been its lack of focus on tablets.
“The company, which focused on new customer phone growth, largely ignored tablets as it added only 665,000 new postpaid branded tablets, a third of what Sprint achieved with roughly the same subscriber figures.”