U.S. and Canadian cell phone users pay the most for service

New study says that U.S. and Canadian cell phone users pay the most for service
A  report by the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative shows that U.S. and Canadian cell phone users have the most expensive cell phone plans on the globe. The Foundation, which lists Google CEO Eric Schmidt as a board member, shows the minimum voice, text and data post-paid package to cost $59.90 per month in the U.S. and $67.70 up North. As a comparison, the minimum monthly rates in Hong Kong and India are $13.50 and $12.90 respectively. However, both countries use pay-per-use or a combination of pay-per-use and pre-set limits.

For post-paid voice plans, Canada (31 cents/minute) and Japan (37 cents/minute) were the highest priced on a per-minute basis, followed by the U.S.(18 cents/minute) and the U.K.(17 cents per minute). Both Hong Kong and Inida's plans are priced at 1 cent per minute.

When it comes to postpaid plans for text messages, the top rates are found in the U.S.,U.K., Canada and Denmark. India and Japan are at the bottom. The U.K. postpaid text rates come out to about 10 cents per text, double the rate in the United States. Japanese text users pay less than 1 cent per text while in India, each message costs about 1 cent to send.

The country with the most expensive postpaid data plan is Japan where the service costs a whopping $9.40 monthly per MB. The U.S. is near the top of this category at 8 cents/MB per month. In the U.K., India and Sweden, data will cost you less than 1 cent/MB monthly.

Obviously, determining if you can afford a cell phone, and which plan you can afford comfortably, greatly depends on where you live. Certain countries like the U.S. consistently appear near the top of the rates list while India is always around the lowest rates. Obviously no one is going to move just to score a lower monthly cellular bill, but it is interesting to see the difference in rates. It certainly explains why RIM was worried about BlackBerry service getting turned off in India; with the country's rates so low, it is the fastest growing cell phone region on the planet. The low rates also explain how Indians can afford to carry a cell phone with 42% of them earning less than $1.25 per month.

source: NewAmericaFoundation

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