WiFi Rules, OK? Only 6% Of iPad Sessions Come From Cellular Networks

There has been some anecodotal evidence about how WiFi is by far the most popular way to connect on a tablet, but some numbers out from Localytics spell out just how little traffic is coming from 3G (and now 4G) networks on the most popular tablet of all, the iPad from Apple.

Using data from apps that run on its mobile analytics platform, Localytics says that in the last week, since the introduction of the new iPad, only six percent of all sessions on iPads were coming from cellular networks, with the rest coming from WiFi. That’s a testament to how consumers by and large don’t seem to be particularly interested in having 3G or 4G on their devices: not great news for carriers that were hoping for more traffic and purchases of data plans on their cellular networks.

However, Localytics also found those tablets that do have cellular chips are seeing a very even amount of use between WiFi and cellular networks.

Overall, Localytics found that just over 10 percent of all tablets running its platforms’ apps were cellular-enabled. That figure supports data released by mobile analyst Chetan Sharma earlier this week, who noted that in the U.S. at the moment 90 percent of the tablets in use are WiFi-only.

Of the iPads that do have cellular connectivity, Localytics said 8.8 percent of them are 3G-enabled.

And although the new iPad — the first with 4G — has only just hit the market, it already accounts for 1.5 percent of all iPad tablets in terms of traffic on the Localytics platform. Apple said it sold more than 3 million units of the new device on its opening weekend.

Consumers by and large may not be interested in ponying up the extra money for cellular access, but for those who do buy tablets with 3G or 4G, they are actually using that connection quite a lot: on 3G devices it accounts for 45 percent of all usage; on 4G it accounts for less at the moment: 36 percent.

However, it looks like even those that have paid for the privilege to have mobile data access may soon start to sour against the idea unless carriers sort out better usage plans.

A report in the WSJ earlier this week noted how the introduction of 4G has actually been both a blessing and a curse for users: the faster speeds make watching video fantastic, but it has also led to people, perhaps unwittingly, burning through their pre-alloted few gigabytes of data usage in as little as one day.