UBS believes the new iPad will be the catalyst that drives consumers to connect their tablets to mobile broadband networks. In a new report, UBS predicted there would be a near 50/50 split between Wi-Fi only and 4G iPads sold, driven in particular by strong demand for superfast LTE connectivity in the U.S.
“With an HD screen, faster processor and higher-resolution camera, we believe this device will drive demand for faster connectivity,” UBS senior analyst John Hodulik said in research note. And given Verizon’s(s vz)(s vod) superior LTE coverage, Hodulik said, Big Red definitely has an edge over AT&T(s t) when it comes to selling the iPad.
UBS said that previous generations of iPad split 60/40 between Wi-Fi only and 3G models (numbers supported by other studies), but whether those 3G iPad owners actually connected their tablets to EV-DO of HSPA networks is a different question altogether. Wireless industry analyst Chetan Sharma found that only 1 out of every 10 tablet sold connects to a wide-area wireless network. Considering the iPad is the best selling tablet by a long shot, Sharma and UBSs’ numbers don’t quite gel – unless a lot of people are buying top-of-the-line iPads and simply not signing up for mobile service.