Mobile Plans Too Expensive in America, Says Group
If you think wireless carriers in North America charge too much, you are right. An analysis of cellphone plans worldwide found that consumers in the U.S., Canada and U.K. pay the highest for voice and text service on their phones, while those in India, Hong Kong and Japan pay the least.
Receiving phone calls is free in most countries, except U.S. and Canada–that’s why the rate per minute is doubled for these two countries, say Chiehyu Li and Bincy Ninan in a paper published by the think-tank New America Foundation.
The cheapest postpaid voice plan is available in Hong Kong at $8.50 for 600 minutes a month (a penny a minute), while in Canada the cheapest plan is $38.70 for 250 minutes. By comparison, the least expensive postpaid voice plan in America costs $39.99 for 450 minutes.
Even when it comes to texting services, American and Canadian consumers pay more than almost every one else worldwide.
“The United States tends to fall in a band of countries that charge higher prices to individual wireless consumers for everything except pure voice service where prices are comparable,” say Li and Ninan in their report. “It is essential we consider steps that could be taken to encourage competition or impose regulation such that the U.S. becomes an engine of innovation for better and more competitively priced service offerings.”
This is not the first time that an analysis has shown that American users pay more for service on their mobile devices. In July, an analysis by Tableau Software showed American users pay some of the highest prices in terms of dollars per gigabyte (GB) of data on the iPad. (Check out their amazing interactive chart here.)
The New America Foundation’s analysis threw up some surprising results with respect to texting and data services.
Texting is Expensive But Data is Not
Texting is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. but it comes at a stiff price–though if its any help, U.S. consumers can take heart that their counterparts in the U.K. pay more.
For postpaid text plans, the U.K. provides the most expensive plan at $7.70 for 75 texts a month (10 cents a text). The U.S. is a close second at $5 for 200 texts a month.
The cheapest text rate offered is in Sweden at $17.80 for 5500 texts. India and South Korea charge only a penny for every text sent.
Not surprisingly, when it comes to unlimited data plans on mobile phones, the U.S. does much better –landing in the middle tier of service rates. American users can get $30 a month plan, which is cheaper than Canada’s $72.90 a month for unlimited data.
But Sweden’s unlimited data plans are among the best, coming in around for $13.80 a month, followed by India at $19 a month.
If you want a detailed breakdown of how countries compare for voice, text and data, check out the analysis on New America Foundation’s web site.
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Charts: New America Foundation
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