Americans paying too much for LTE, says GSMA report

by: J. Angelo RacomaOctober 15, 2012
Cell Tower

(Image credit: ExtremeTech)

You may be enjoying fast data speeds on your latest Samsung Galaxy S3 or iPhone 5. But if you’re in the U.S., you might be paying too much for high-speed wireless broadband. A report by the GSM Association says Americans are paying thrice the European average and as much as 10 times as in some European countries.

LTE is almost three years old in Sweden, which is the first ever market that launched this wireless standard. Since then, 88 carriers around the world carry LTE, with the U.S. being the biggest market, so far. A comparison by the GSMA, though, says Americans are paying a higher price per gigabyte than European users by as much as 10 times.

For instance, Verizon Wireless charges $7.50 per GB. In comparison, the average cost per GB in Europe is $2.50. In Sweden, LTE costs $0.63 per GB.

The GSMA study considered other inclusions to cellular packages, including voice and SMS. But if a user were to subscribe to a data-only plan, this brings the cost to $5.50 per GB, which is still twice the European average.

GSMA attributes the price discrepancy to competition, saying there are too few players in the U.S. to warrant competition. Also, European carriers usually offer LTE as an add-on or pay-as-you-go service. In the U.S., LTE is bundled with other services, which can drive up the cost. The trend is the same with 3G subscriptions. Americans pay an average of $115 per month on 3G. The average is $51 monthly in the Netherlands and $59 monthly in the UK.

Do you think you’re paying too much for mobile data? Would you prefer a pay-as-you-go service, or a service bundled with your mobile plan?

  • Definitely paying too much but oh well, what can you do? I wish AT&T would bring back their unlimited data plan -.- I have 3GB for $30. I never go over that but it would be nice to know that I could if I wanted to without being charged another $10 automatically. It’s complete bull crap that only iPhone customers get to keep their unlimited data plan. That’s just not fair. What makes them so special? I pay just as much as they do, if not more, so why can’t I have unlimited data? AT&T be messing up -.-

  • blarelli

    Not a surprise, but to be fair I believe it is more common for people in Europe to have unsubidized devices. In addition to that, VAT is a significant cost that I doubt is figured into this calculation.

  • Justin W

    I think I’m moving to Europe.

    Honestly though, I agree that we have too few options here in the U.S. Maybe if we had the competition of Europe, we’d have lower prices (and hopefully more GSM carriers with LTE).

  • Ugo Marceau

    I’m in France. Paying 20€ (25.90$) for unlimited text, unilimited data (just lower speed beyond 3Gb) and unlimited calls in the whole EU, US and Canada. Sure I had to pay my phone full price, but it’s really worth it if I stay with the carrier a few months. Also, no “2-year contract” or anything. i’m free to go when I want and free of charge.

  • $7.5 per GB in 4G is 10times more!!! We pay $6 per GB in 3G here in India, n u say american’s pay more!!!!!

    • GlueFactoryBJJ

      In all fairness, India isn’t a place that most people would consider on par, technological infrastructure-wise, with Europe and the US.

  • jasonb

    Not only are there fewer options here in the USA, but we are geographically spread out much more than our EU counterparts. The additional space between large American cities (read rural areas) need mobile broadband as well, which significantly increases the number of cell and repeater towers, thereby increasing the cost of providing service to the American public.

    And no, I do not work for or with any mobile carrier. This is just simple logic.

  • In Malaysia, we pay USD 16 per GB for 3G service.

  • KyleRay

    Korea and Japan have best and cheapest 4G. Followed by Northern Europe! USA? …..carriers put it on a handfull of towers in a number cities and if you can even get it, you’re lucky. Most Cities in America 4G LTE is just a SALES GIMMICK!

    Meanwhile we’re always paying more for less in America, because of Greedy Carriers and other Profit Ripping Corporate Suits Stuffing their pockets. Just so they can pretend they’re better everybody else! Rich Bosstards get Richer and Poor in the World Go Hungry!

    Wonderful country….., where now CrApple’s Al Gore and his rich biotch wife can get more Green Credits for Burning Our Corn for Fuel. While shutting down the Canadian Pipeline. So they could make more off corn fuel crops. That cost a whole lot less to grow, when it was just for FOOD! ……..notice the first thing Al and Tipper did is buy corn growing property in the Midwest! ;-P Guess who’s now getting Bumper Crop of Tax Write Offs…. now from the drought?