Report: U.S. consumers paying as much as ten times too much for LTE

Report: U.S. consumers paying as much as ten times too much for LTE
Are U.S. mobile customers paying too much for LTE service? Have you turned various shades of red after receiving your carrier's monthly bill? If so, you are not alone. The GSM Association conducted a survey and found that Americans are paying three times the European average and as much as ten times more the rate in certain European countries, for LTE service. You might not expect that from the world's biggest LTE market out of the existing 88 countries where the service can be found. As of June, there were 27 milion LTE users in the world with half found in the states. South Korea is the second largest LTE market with 7.5 million users and Japan is third with 3.5 million LTE customers. 21 European countries offer the service with 1.5 million users.

U.S.consumers pay more for LTE

U.S.consumers pay more for LTE

The first country to use LTE was Sweden three years ago.There, the service goes for an amazingly low 63 cents per GB compared to the $7.50 charged by Verizon. Even removing voice and text from Big Red's bundle still works out to $5.50 per GB which remains a large multiple of the price in Sweden and more than double the average rate of $2.50 per GB found in Europe.

According to the GSMA, the lack of competition in the U.S. for LTE service explains the difference in pricing. 38 carriers out of the 88 worldwide that offer LTE are in Europe. Besides the lack of LTE signals in the states, European carriers often market LTE as an add-on or for PAYG services. In America, LTE is often bundled with other services that raise the cost. The same discrepancy in pricing can be seen with 3G. The U.S. rate for 3G is $115 per month versus $51 monthly in the Netherlands and $59 in the United Kingdom.

source: NYTimes via AndroidAuthority



1. Ruckus

Posts: 286; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

This is unfortunately not a surprise to me. I was reading an article online a few weeks ago that showed we over pay for home internet (I believe about 7x higher than France was it?) And our speeds are considerably slower! We're getting ripped off something fierce!

4. No_Nonsense unregistered

You need to see the Indian speeds and data caps before commenting.

5. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Only is good US of A!! take it home with ya!

22. superguy

Posts: 421; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

If you think we have it bad, the Canadians are screwed worse than we are.

28. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

Are we Canadians I don't think so, so y do u care?

2. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

"The U.S. rate for 3G is $115 per month versus $51 monthly in the Netherlands and $59 in the United Kingdom." What about prepaid 3g at $50 a month in the US?? verizon offers it

7. laheelahee

Posts: 213; Member since: Apr 09, 2012

wouldnt that mean they have cheaper prepaid plans in europe too? idk...

10. Stoli89

Posts: 333; Member since: Jun 28, 2010

...and they do. But on top of that, the phone you buy is not restricted to one network (like Verizon).

26. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

hey you're right! lol but 50 a month for 3g is really not asking much but also it would never hurt to go lower hehehe :)

27. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

True, but as always there is a catch with Verizon. The offer is only extended to dumb phones a la clam style. If you want to use a prepaid smartphone it'll cost you $80; to add insult, believe is only for 1G of data.

3. BrockSamson

Posts: 8; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Of course there are vast differences in the sizes of these countries that must be considered. Still getting screwed, but there is more to it than a 1 to 1 price comparison.

6. freefour1968

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 16, 2012

size of the country does not matter. look how much money AT@T take in and then compare what other countries take in... thats all bs. I lived in the states ( born an raise 42 years) and worked in cell phone sales for years. America you are getting screwed. I live in Finland and have pre-paid unlimited internet and ony pay 29€ every 6 months. also have a plan on my xperia for unlimited internet 13.95€ a month. and the infrastructure is here and I can be anywere and have signal. Get the government back into the telecommunication and regulate those monopolies an you can have the same.

20. superguy

Posts: 421; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Getting government IN to the market? The government mucking with the market is the whole reason why prices suck in the US. The telecoms are heavily regulated and relatively limited in what they can do. Add to that it's difficult for new carriers to come in and compete due to the regulation. Plus the government is stingy with spectrum, making it very expensive for carriers to buy what they need (especially for the littler guys). If the government would make it EASIER for carriers to enter the market, compete, and get the spectrum they needed, we could have more competition. It's not much different on the wireline side. Laws and local ordinances make it difficult for new competition to enter the market. For wireline internet and phone, you have basically two companies in an area: one telecom and one cable company. And each one pretty much has a monopoly over a given area. So Cox can't compete where Comcast is, Verizon can't compete where Qwest is, etc. It's really screwed up, and we have government to thank for that.

8. wickets

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

What about those of us that pay for lte but dont have it because we reside in a an lte black hole? Thats being screwed!!

18. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Do you pay a premium for LTE? As far as I'm aware customers pay the same for their data capacity for smartphones regardless of what data network they're using. The only premium I'm aware of is the $10 one for smartphones sprint has

9. Stoli89

Posts: 333; Member since: Jun 28, 2010

How's that Republican deregulation work'in for'ya?

16. hybrid06339

Posts: 23; Member since: May 16, 2012

Republicans are for the people - mainly the corporate type of people - who then drop a few breadcrumbs for the poor and middle class to feast on.

23. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 2012

And the higher Democrat regulation is any better? Far too often people are too far on opposite sides of any argument and are unwilling to find middle ground. If by some miracle there could be middle ground found in this and many other things, we might have a snowball's chance in hell of seeing things get better.

11. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Welcome to life in an oligopoly. Imagine what would happen to prices if AT&T had been able to buy T-Mo....

12. Ralston1983

Posts: 70; Member since: Feb 03, 2011

I'd rather overpay for my mobile bill cause there could be worse things. Do you see how much some of those other countries pay for gas?

13. ibap

Posts: 866; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

And how exactly are the rates for LTE and gasoline connected?

14. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Well, if we had to pay what other countries pay for gas, we'd be much more likely to stay home and use WiFi instead. Our low gasoline taxes permit us to surf porn on the freeway instead.

17. Ralston1983

Posts: 70; Member since: Feb 03, 2011

They're not, you missed my point. There are other things overseas that are more expensive then it is in the states was the only thing I was trying to get across.

24. androiddownsouth

Posts: 598; Member since: May 02, 2012

I was recently in Jamaica, and gas prices there are in the area of $8 - $10 US dollars per gallon. While I don't like gas at what it is now, it definitely could be worse.

35. laheelahee

Posts: 213; Member since: Apr 09, 2012

way to put things in perspective. lol

15. sleepyjohnny

Posts: 151; Member since: Dec 16, 2009

the countries being compared to the US are significantly smaller. They pay less to have their networks because less people are covered. While I don't know how much more, we should have to pay more in order for LTE to be so widespread and used by so many people. Also, Verizon customers pay the same whether they have 3G or 4G, so I'm not sure why this article specifically points out 4G LTE

25. freefour1968

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 16, 2012

S imple economics show you that the more people there are paying for a service the lower the service needs to charge them for said service. Henry Ford knew it that the more people buying his cars the cheaper he could sell them for and the more profit he would make. Not just the assembly line was he noted for. Also Sam Walton knew this simple rule. The argument of those countries aren't as big or they only have blah blah blah is not valid. I have lived in both and America needs to open their eyes and get rid of a broken system of corporate greed.

29. sleepyjohnny

Posts: 151; Member since: Dec 16, 2009

it's not as simple as simple economics. Henry ford manufactured products (trucks), which are nothing like data services unfortunately. If you have a network capable over holding 5 people per tower, and you have 25 people in an area around a tower, you have to invest money into making more towers and opening the bandwith to allow more people to be connected to one tower. So in Europe, since these countries in question are about the size of one US state (on average), these cell phone providers are dealing with MUCH less data consumption. I understand your point, and you do have one. However, to call my point invalid is not supporting material to your point and makes you look quite ignorant. I'm not saying the amount Verizon charges is just in any way, and I'm not saying it's unjust. My point is that to some degree, the price of the service must be higher when you have a cell phone provider spanning over a much larger area and delivering service to a much larger population If you'd like an example, imagine another service like delivering water. If a company based in Kansas is in charge of delivering water to all of the United States, and it completes with two other similar companies, I would highly doubt you'd be able to find a bottle for $1.25. It would cost too much money in delivery to be practical, and that's why there are many providers throughout all of the states. Cell phone services work similarly to some degree as that example since area span of service and the amount of people in the area affects price.

31. freefour1968

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 16, 2012

Hummm ok then with that example Wal mart must have the most expinsive prices on their products then because they are the largest corperation serveing the most amount of people covering the most amount of coverage. And mom and pop store should have the lowest prices because they only serve a small amount of people in a small area. a company charges for a service what that service coat the store will be passed down to the consumers but the store has tomake a profit there for if there are less customers then the profit has to be made off fewer itemes sold there for a higher price for the item. If you have many items to sell with many customers to buy you can make less profit per item and still make more revenue because you are selling more items. Logistics, overhead, and everything else is factored into the price of each item so as people are buying your costs are covered. All companies work like this. Laws of supply and demand . Here were I live now, there are laws that companies cant do what they do in the states like grossly overchargeing you for internet, the companies are regulated to protect the consumers. And in doing so the whole counrty has better service and cheaper prices. You say that these cou rties are only as big as a state but so what. Sweden, Netherlands, Estonia, all together prove we all have boarder to boarder internet coverage and all pay about the same. Yet the data we are useing is the same data you are useing. At&t as well as Verizon over charge you because they can. Infostructure, tower maintenance and upgrades, blah blah blah is all been paid for in youre monthly bill a long time ago . Thats just cost of operation, factor in 30-45% of your bill is what it cost those companies to operate the rest is profit. and greed pure and simple. I worked in telecommunications and sales for years with at&t, verizon, t-mobil, sprint, and the prepaids and at&t and verizon were the worst at greed. Go with t-mobile or sprint they were always cheaper and had ok service or pre-paid.

32. sleepyjohnny

Posts: 151; Member since: Dec 16, 2009

No that's not a correct analogy in this situation. Walmart sells items. It has nearly an unlimited supply of that item because of the expanse of Walmart and various other factors that deal with the reduced prices available at Walmart. Like I said, data is a SERVICE, not a physical product. Data network relies on bandwidth, so that the more people subscribed, the more bandwidth is required. When you have areas densely populated, the bandwidth required is much higher. You seem to be knowledgeable in economics, but you don't seem to be applying certain facts that change the outcomes. And again, I'm not saying Verizon and at&t aren't charging more than they need to. I'm saying that they need to charge more than a Swedish company providing service in Sweden only. I've only said this in all of my arguments, yet you seem to ignore it completely and just go on to say that all prices are due to greed. That's not factually based at all, not even with your economic knowledge. If you'd like to further contribute to the argument, why don't you look up some statistics pertaining to cellular data.

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