Technology

Report: Americans Pay a Lot More for High-Speed Mobile

By /
Oct 17, 2012

According to a study by the GSM Association, Americans pay as much as 10 times more for 4G LTE data access than Europeans do.

Trying to download a big file on your iPad? It’ll cost ya.

Even though the United States is the biggest market for LTE data access, Americans pay significantly more to use it, according to a study by the GSM Association cited by The New York Times.

How much more? Well, in the U.S., Verizon Wireless charges about $7.50 per gigabyte of data downloaded from its LTE network. In Europe, the average is just $2.50 per GB — and in Sweden, you can download a GB of data for as little as 63 cents.

The reasons for the cost difference include:

  • Consumer choice: Until July, only two major providers in the U.S. — AT&T and Verizon — offered LTE connectivity. For years, Verizon had the market to itself. Other companies, including Sprint, are working on building out an LTE-based infrastructure, but the diversity of options is still small compared with Europe, where 38 of the 88 mobile operators offer LTE service. The added competition keeps prices down.
  • Maturity of data plans: The U.S. is behind the times as far as moving away from unlimited data access, and it’s leading to higher prices. Costs are much cheaper in Europe because they moved away from the unlimited model two years ago.
  • Bundling: In Europe, LTE access is purchased separately from voice and text plans. But in the U.S., these items are sold together — with data often being the factor driving the price up.

Verizon, in response to the study, emphasizes that the plan used for comparison’s sake included unlimited voice and data, and the cost would fall to $5.50 per GB on a data-only plan — still more than in Europe but cheaper than Verizon’s rate cited in the study.

Finding mobile data to be too expensive for your association’s taste? What have you done to rein it in? Let us know in the comments.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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