A new study performed by the research branch of the GSM Association based in London, shows a disturbing trend here in the United States. Apparently, US consumers pay a lot more for their data than folks in Europe.
The study took a look at the average price that US consumers pay for LTE service compared to Europe as a whole and to Sweden in particular (because that is where LTE was first introduced). The study used only Verizon Wireless for their baseline since it is the largest LTE network in the US. The study found that there are 27 million LTE subscribers in the world, and about half of those are all in the US. Also, South Korea is the second-largest market for LTE service. They have 7.5 million subscribers. Japan comes in third with 3.5 million users. Finally, LTE service is in 21 different European countries, and Germany has the most throughout Europe.
The disturbing info for US customers is that, according to their results, customers in the States pay roughly 3 times more than all of Europe, and over 10 times more than folks in Sweden. Here's a quote with more details,
When trying to disseminate this data, these results seem counter-intuitive. You would think since there are so many more customers wanting LTE in the US, that it would drive the price down and they would be cheaper. The main reason that is not the case is that in Europe there are far more carriers that offer the service than in the US. In fact, Europe has the largest number of operators selling LTE service with 38 of 88 total global operators.A comparison by Wireless Intelligence, a unit of the GSM Association, suggests that being in the biggest LTE market has not brought low prices to U.S. consumers.
According to the study, Verizon Wireless, which is a joint venture of Verizon and Vodafone, charges $7.50 for each gigabyte of data downloaded over its LTE network. That is three times the European average of $2.50 and more than 10 times what consumers pay in Sweden, where a gigabyte costs as little as 63 cents.
Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless, which is based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, said the Verizon Wireless LTE plan cited in the study also included unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text, picture and video messages shared among 10 different data-capable devices and a mobile hotspot on the smartphone. Having a data-only plan, Ms. Raney said, would reduce the per-gigabyte charge at Verizon Wireless to $5.50 — still be more than twice the European average.
Hmmm... so that's what a Monopoly looks like. This Softbank buyout of Sprint could be a very good thing for US consumers.