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Analysis: Apple Widens Tablet Market Gap With iPad 2, But Will Wireless Benefit?

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2011 – Apple’s initial iPad 2 sales and projections for 2011 say while that Apple probably will not face much competition in tablet sales, the competition for wireless data plans for the device are heating up.

Apple sold over 15 million of the original iPad, and brisk resales of used iPads on eBay, Gazelle, and other resale sites indicate that the original model is still quite popular. Analyst Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets sees upgrades from the original iPad comprising only a fifth of iPad 2 over the next 12 months. That means that the remaining 80 percent of iPad 2 purchasers will likely be new to the tablet platform. Abramsky projects Jobs and Company will sell 28 million of its new model touchscreen tablet by the end of the calendar year.

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WASHINGTON, March 17, 2011 – Apple’s initial iPad 2 sales and projections for 2011 say while that Apple probably will not face much competition in tablet sales, the competition for wireless data plans for the device are heating up.

Apple sold over 15 million of the original iPad, and brisk resales of used  iPads on eBay, Gazelle, and other resale sites indicate that the original model is still quite popular. Analyst Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets sees upgrades from the original iPad comprising only a fifth of iPad 2 over the next 12 months. That means that the remaining 80 percent of iPad 2 purchasers will likely be new to the tablet platform.  Abramsky projects Jobs and Company will sell 28 million of its new model touchscreen tablet by the end of the calendar year.

Apple has not seen any real competition in the tablet format. Data from market research firm IDC shows that Apple snagged nearly three-quarters of the tablet market during the fourth quarter of 2010. Samsung’s Galaxy tablet, which the company introduced in late 2010, offered some competition, but for the year the iPad captured a whopping 83 percent of the market. IDC predicts Apple to hang onto an 80 percent market share through 2011 and that the introduction of a the iPad 2 may only serve to widen the gap. Many analyst have pointed to the flexibility Apple offers in having six iPad models which do not require a data contract to achieve a relatively affordable price point.

The iPad 2 comes with an available 3G wireless data option through either Verizon or AT&T, but the device can not switch between these carriers due to their differing wireless technologies.  In order to attract customers, both carriers have created tiered data plans based on anticipated usage, ranging from 250 MB to 5 GB or more if consumers are willing to pay. Given that a recent Cisco analysis points to the average tablet user uses over 400MB of data a month – and that this consumption will likely only grow – the lower bandwidth plans seem like they may be less popular, and may possibly make consumers unhappy if they are charged for exceeding their cap.

Apple iOS users point to the graphics based touch environment on the iPad 2 as a prime reason for higher data use, and the higher likelihood a user will look at a full webpage, pictures, or video on the iPad’s large screen as opposed to just viewing text, the way they might on a smaller smartphone screen. The significant graphics improvement may only draw more users to the iPad.  A recent graphics benchmark by AnandTech tested the iPad 2 against the original iPad and the Motorola Xoom, which the company launched a scant two months ago at the Consumer Electronics Show. The iPad 2 outperformed both tablets significantly.

Other wireless carriers are keen to tap into the mobile market as Virgin Mobile, and Sprint have all introduced mobile devices that  are specifically marketed to iPad and laptop users. T-Mobile expects to hop on the wagon in the near future as well.  These devices allow users to connect to their wireless networks through Wi-Fi. In fact many veteran Apple users are hesitant to pay the extra $130 for the ability to use 3G on their iPads.

“With many networks moving to 4G, and cheaper devices that will allow me to share my wireless connection with other Wi-Fi devices, it seems silly to buy a 3G iPad,” said one user who wished to remain anonymous because he works for Apple.

Other current AT&T and Verizon iPhone customers are hoping to use the Wi-Fi tethering feature that was introduced with the most recent operating system in lieu of purchasing a 3G plan with their iPad. AT&T recently increased the data cap from 2GB to 4GB for the users who pay for the tethering feature.

Marguerite Reardon of CNET agreed, pointing out,  “Aside from the $130 premium you’re paying for the 3G radio in the iPad 2, AT&T and Verizon also aren’t making it terribly attractive to subscribe to the iPad data service if you’ve already got a phone that can create a Wi-Fi hot spot.”

Nate Hakken is a native of Washington, DC. As the son of two itinerant academics, Nate spent much of his childhood living in England and Scandinavia. He has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, as well as a J.D. from Vermont Law School, where he studied Internet and technology law. Nate is a jack-of-all-trades, having worked as a sound engineer, teacher, camp director, outdoor adventure guide, and medical researcher. Outside of work, he is an avid cyclist who competes across the Mid-Atlantic and has been known to play the guitar when asked nicely.

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Ookla Has Verizon as Fastest Q1 Fixed Provider, T-Mobile Takes Top Spot for Mobile

T-Mobile was also named the most consistent mobile operator and topped 5G download speeds.

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Image of Speedtest from May 2017 by Daniel Aleksandersen used with permission

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 – A market report released Friday by performance metrics web service Ookla named Verizon the fastest fixed broadband provider in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022, and T-Mobile as the fastest mobile operator during the same period.

Verizon had a median download speed of 184.36 Mbps, edging out Comcast Xfinity’s speed of 179.12 Mbps. T-Mobile’s median mobile speed was 117.83 Mbps.

Verizon had the lowest latency of all providers, according to Ookla, well ahead of Xfinity’s fourth place ranking, yet sat at third for consistency behind both Xfinity and Spectrum.

T-Mobile was also the most consistent mobile operator during the first quarter, achieving an Ookla consistency score of 88.3 percent, which along with median download speed represented an increase from the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company also achieved the fastest median 5G download speed, coming in at 191.12 Mbps.

Verizon also notably increased its 5G download speed from its Q4 metric, attributed in part to the turning on of new C-band spectrum in January following deployment delays and protest from airlines. For mobile speeds, it stood in second behind T-Mobile, bumping AT&T to a standing of third. These rankings were the same for mobile measures of latency and consistency.

Yet on 5G availability, AT&T remains ahead of Verizon.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra came in as the fastest popular device in the country, running at 116.33 Mbps.

Ookla is a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.

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FCC’s Rosenworcel: Broadband Nutrition Labels Will Create New Generation of Informed Buyers

The FCC hopes companies will make it easier for consumers to choose a broadband plan that fits their needs.

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Photo of Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel speaking at the Mobile World Conference 2022 in Barcelona

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission’s broadband nutrition labels will usher in a new era where buyers have simple information about what they’re buying, agency Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said Friday.

Consumers should know what they’re signing up for when they spend hundreds “or even thousands” of dollars per year for internet service. She was speaking at Friday’s commission hearing on its so-called broadband nutrition label initiative.

The hearing comes on top of a public comment period on the initiative. Many providers are pushing for more flexible regulations on compliance.

When consumers choose a broadband provider for their household, Rosenworcel said may people make decisions with “sometimes incomplete and inaccurate information.”

“The problem for broadband consumers isn’t a total lack of information, but there’s loads of fine print,” Rosenworcel said. “It can be difficult to know exactly what we are paying for and these disclosures are not consistent from carrier to carrier,” which makes comparing prices and services harder and more time-consuming for consumers.

The comments built on other recent speeches by Rosenworcel promoting the initiative, encouraging state attorneys general’s ability to enforce companies’ commitments through their states’ consumer protection statutes.

The FCC began a plan in 2015 for broadband labels that was voluntary. The new initiative directed by last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law makes this effort mandatory for broadband providers.

Matt Sayre, managing director of cross sector economic development firm Onward Eugene, said residents in rural Oregon would benefit from simple information when considering broadband providers. During a time where dial-up and satellite-based offerings were primarily available, Sayre said his neighbors “never used terms like latency or packet loss.”

“These are important aspects of good internet service, but not easily understood by most people,” Sayre said. “Citizens understood they needed better service but were uncertain about what tier of service they needed. This is where broadband labels can be very helpful.”

The hearing was the agency’s first on the initiative.

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Small ISP Organizations Push FCC for Flexibility on Broadband Label Compliance

Advocates say strict compliance requirements may economically harm small providers.

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Photo of outgoing WISPA CEO of Claude Aiken from April 2018 by New America used with permission

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2022 ­­– In comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday, organizations representing small internet providers are pushing for flexible regulations on compliance with a measure that requires clear reporting of broadband service aspects to consumers.

The measure was adopted at a late January meeting by the commission, mandating that providers list their pricing and speed information about services in the format of a “broadband nutrition label” that mimics a food nutrition label. Congress’ bipartisan infrastructure bill enacted in the fall required that the FCC adopt such policy.

The organizations that submitted comments Wednesday say that strict compliance requirements for the new measure may economically harm small providers.

Among those leading the charge are trade associations Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and America’s Communications Association as well as provider Lumen Technologies.

In comments, limited resources of smaller providers were cited as factors which could disadvantage them in terms of complying with the measure to the FCC’s standards and several organizations asked for small providers to be given extra time to comply.

In separate comments, internet provider Lumen said that the FCC must make multiple changes to its approach if it is to “avoid imposing new obligations that arbitrarily impose excessive costs on providers and undermine other policy goals.”

Last month, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that she looks forward to increased coordination between the FCC and state attorneys general for the enforcement of the measure.

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