There were 18.3 million actively connected tablets using cellular networks by the end of 2014 in the United States, a whopping 90 percent year-over-year increase, according to The NPD Group. Tablet manufacturers and wireless carriers offered competitive pricing - and aggressive marketing campaigns - mixed with discounts, subsidies, and giveaways. The effort worked, as the industry added 8.7 million users with a cellular-connected tablet.
However, it looks like the battle has only just started, with tablet activation expected to slow down to 30 percent this year and down to 10 percent next year.
"One of the major reasons we expect to see the cellular tablet connection growth slow down over the next couple of years is the cannibalization by larger smartphone screens," said Brad Akyuz, director of Connected Intelligence at NPD.
"As demand for smartphones boasting a large (5.0-inch plus) screen continue to increase, the value proposition of the tablet serving as a second screen diminishes. The new growth opportunities for the carriers will be in the wearables space as cellular embedded wearable devices are poised to be widely available by the end of 2016."