The share of customers who purchase tablets with mobile data plans is on the rise due to their ability to stay continuously connected to the Internet, and satisfaction among these customers is higher than those with Wi-Fi only connections, according to new data from J.D. Power.

The gap in satisfaction between owners with data plan-connected tablets and those with Wi-Fi only devices is 26 points (833 vs. 807, respectively), up from 22 points in J.D. Power’s 2014 study. The research group says the proportion of customers who purchase tablets with mobile data plans is 31 percent, a higher share than in any previous J.D. Power study and a three percentage point gain from six months ago.

The increased popularity of subscribing to data plans is attributable to customer interest in staying connected and using a tablet for activities such as browsing the Internet, streaming music and videos, playing games, using apps and communicating on social media sites. The convenience of being connected to the Internet using a data plan has a positive impact on customer satisfaction because Wi-Fi coverage tends to be spotty when away from the home or business, according to J.D. Power. Customers with data plans can use their tablet to its full potential nearly anytime and anywhere.

As such, they use their tablets more frequently for all measured activities in the study, and frequent use is associated with higher levels of satisfaction. For example, 17 percent of customers with data plans watch a full-length movie daily, compared to just four percent without data plans. Satisfaction is higher among customers who watch a movie daily than among those who do not (890 vs. 808, respectively).

“The convenience of being continuously connected is a key driver of satisfaction among tablet owners with data plans,” says Kirk Parsons, senior director and technology, telecom practice leader at J.D. Power. “Wireless providers benefit by leveraging the convenience of being connected nearly anywhere at any time, as customer spending rises when they purchase a data plan-enabled tablet, and customers benefit by having a satisfying tablet experience. When customers are satisfied, they are more likely to recommend their tablet brand to their friends and family.”