Study: Americans pay too much for their LTE plans

By , Oct 15, 2012

American smartphone owners are taking a bath on LTE and 3G pricing compared to European mobile consumers, a new study indicates. Verizon Wireless subscribers pay $7.50 per gigabyte on that carrier’s LTE network versus an average of $2.50 in Europe, for example. Even more shocking: Sweden’s LTE users pay as low as 63 cents.

According to the London-based GSM Association, despite the U.S. being the largest LTE market in the world, Americans pay much more for the superfast wireless technology than anyone else. The reason boils down to fewer choices…

Until recently, Verizon Wireless and AT&T were the only mobile providers offering LTE. The technology is widely viewed as the successor to 3G and used in the iPhone 5 and other popular smartphones. By contrast, Europe has 38 LTE operators — even tiny Austria and Finland have more LTE options than the U.S., according to the New York Times.

Another reason for the pricing difference: U.S. mobile consumers are often forced to buy LTE as a package of other services. U.S. smartphone owners pay $115 per month for 3G while UK consumers pay $59, according to accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Verizon Wireless counters that if a consumer purchased a data-only plan, the per-gigabyte charge would fall to $5.50. However, as the Times points out, that figure is still double the European average.

European and US smartphone owners also had a different introduction to mobile expenses. In the U.S., consumers were introduced first to relatively inexpensive wired landline service, then to mobile. By contrast, “European telephone behavior had developed in an environment of high prices,” resulting in fewer calls and mobile usage, the Times reports.

The Times suggests that the high price of LTE and 3G in the U.S. slows adoption of smartphone services. Do you agree? How large a factor is price when you shop for a smartphone carrier?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504401115 Kyle Jones

    I absolutley agree. If I didnt have to rob a bank to have LTE, I would probably be with Verizon right now.

    The simple fact is that US carriers have such a monopoly on spectrum, especially LTE, that they arent going to let any smaller companies have any of it because it all boils down to $$$$

  • LAGISSUEZ

    Mother $&@!?@& crooks is all I have to say. That’s why I sort of enjoy my plan of 55$ a month with AT&T. 39.99 for the voice and $15 for 200mb of data. No text plan cause there are apps for that thankfully. I found ways to make my iPhone bill cheap…er

  • ignar

    It’s not just LTE. 3G (what American telcos love to call 4G) costs as much. That said, I have more problem with voice than data. I absolutely hate that customers are forced to purchase minimum $40/month voice minutes to get data service.

    • SoCoMagNuM

      Last month i used 20 of 450 minutes. Before that I used 15 of 450 previous month. So on and so forth. My rollover bank with AT&T is over 4k (cause just as much as i gain, some minutes expire). I hate having to pay $40 a month for minutes i dont use. Im just not willing to give my up unlimited data plan incase i switch to something else not satisfactory.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604885391 Richard Borkovec

    Europe also has a larger broadband network than the US, by far. The companies here are allowed so much spectrum it’s crazy, and it really does slow people wanting it. They can set the prices and we have to pay them, period. I’ll take my $30 Unlimited Data/text and 100 minutes plan from T-Mobile’s prepaid 4G (HSPA+) plan.

  • @dongiuj

    What about unlimited plans? In Japan with a 32gb iphone 5 we’re paying $95. Is that expensive or cheep compared with America?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1332728607 Omar D. Plumey

      Expensive. I’m paying $30 a month.

  • http://twitter.com/Rich_Inniss  Rich 

    I still pay 30 bucks for unlimited. so i’m lucky in a sense.

    • Ryan Stack

      grandfathered in since the first iPhone

      • Tinus

        Yeah, slow grandfather…

      • http://twitter.com/Rich_Inniss  Rich 

        I average about 3GB a month, I keep unlimited mainly for fear of going over. And not for nothing, I don’t see AT&T speeds being slow at all. In fact I have screen shots of getting 50 +MBPS Download and 17+ MBPS Up. That doesn’t seem so slow to me. Just sayin.

      • http://twitter.com/Xmilljo Joshua☜☆☞Miller

        What phone do you have, I am assuming a iPhone, but can you post the screen shots

      • http://twitter.com/Rich_Inniss  Rich 

        @facebook-723840180:disqus @twitter-313529130:disqus I tried to post a link from my instagram, and I think the moderator Denied it. If you find me on Instagram it’s my 8th Picture from the top. My username is BlackRich. Or you can message me on Kik and i’ll send you the screen shot. My Kik is BlackRich as well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Bartoszak/723840180 Eric Bartoszak

        yea prove it with those screen shots no way 50 down

    • Tinus

      Yeah, slow unlimited after 3gb of usages

    • alexanderlyd

      30 BUCKS!? I pay about 8 dollars for TRUE unlimited data and 200 min 5000 texts

  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.bima.sakti Harry Bima Sakti

    Indonesia doesn’t have LTE yet, but for 3G costs abt $10/month for 3,6Gb

  • http://yoursn0w.com Ali Wadi

    Here in Canada I went over 600MB they charged me for $40 this is damn bullshit because the 6GB plan is only $30

  • David Henderson

    Congress, please do something.

  • goofygreek

    Other than LTE and HSPA+, USA has always been behind other countries in phone service. I remember vacationing in Greece in 2005 that my friends and cousins there had video chat on their phones. And it was pretty clear, but expensive service. Now, most phones have it there and its a lot cheaper.

    • Mathias Wiklund

      Videochat has been around since the early 2000 up here in Scandinavia. That’s why no one uses it anymore, we got tired of it like 5 years ago.

  • Irene N.

    We Americans get raped monthly with not a damn thing we can do about it, but endure the abuse…unless of course you’re one of those who rise up against the injustice and take up a pre-paid plan.

  • ogese

    Here in the US we pay exponentially more for much less. That’s because we have less of a free market here when it comes to telcos. Always have. We need more competition and that would create better service and better prices for consumers.

  • http://twitter.com/So_Apropos Austin Lear

    It took a study to find this out?

  • http://twitter.com/MingoMadness69 Mingo

    Verizon and AT&T are making out like bandits, there prices for mobile and data services are ridiculous. For example cricket, virgin mobile and metro have unlimited calling and data for one flat reasonable price and it’s the same thing that Verizon and AT&T offer, but more expensive.

  • http://twitter.com/MingoMadness69 Mingo

    I say they should have rollover on data that we don’t use because if we go over they don’t have a problem charging us an extra $30 to $40 extra just for going over a few megs….

  • http://twitter.com/MoreThanMac Anthony

    Take a look at Australia’s LTE prices and that’ll make the US prices look like a couple of cents.

    • Stormy08

      EVERYTHING is expensive in Australia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/teslakiiing Viktor Hansson

    Holy crap! The telcos are robbing you. Here in sweden I pay about 15$ for unlimited data,3000 minutes and 3000 texts. And no carrier”lock”(bindningstid) meaning I can switch telco whenever I want

    • alexanderlyd

      I get 200 mins 5000 texts and TRUE unlimited data on three in the UK

      • Whos_Jeff

        Lucky bastards I only get 2gb for 20$ on crappy AT&T

      • Rob

        Also on three uk true unlimited data and that includes tethering 5000 three mins, 5000 any mins and 3000 texts £35 a month

  • makedonii

    im glad i live in sweden, i pay around 350 swedish krouns (kronor) thats about 35€ for unlimited everything, 10 000minutes, 10 000sms/mms and 10GB surf. I say unlimited since its cinda hard to surpass those limits, and even if you do you still have lower speed surf, im talking about the 10GB limit, we are spoiled here and i cant amagine having to pay so much as in the US for so little data :( but then again, sweden is one of the leeding contries in bouth broadband and telecomminications. (sorry for my bad english spelling, just wanted to share my thought)

  • http://twitter.com/leothelion96 Leonard Wong

    I pay nearly $100 for LTE that have 5GB data to use
    700 mins outgoing calls and 1000 SMS/MMS

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    thanks to capitalism and greed Americans pay too much fro everything

  • Faris

    Here in Saudi Arabia, we pay 13$ for 1GB through the Saudi Telecom Company ( STC ).

  • http://www.facebook.com/dragonfly8i8 Wanda Hall

    If only we could plan a blackout day in the U.S for everyone to refuse to use the services until the outrageous rates are lowered, maybe they would get the picture and this would make a difference,but we are the ignorant one’s and continue to pay the expected rates thinking we can’t do anything about it and continue to @#$%$ about it anyway….this is america people…..