The first time you purchase your first LTE-capable smartphone, the biggest shocker of the device isn’t how wicked fast LTE download speeds are, it’s how sinisterly expensive it is to pay for all that super-fast LTE data. Just like 3G data plans, LTE is expensive. In fact, according to to the GSM Association, Americans are being charged too much for LTE data.
The GSM Association — a group based in London that represents mobile operators — set out to find if there are any price disparities in the LTE markets of the world. What they discovered is that while Americans have been the first to widely adopt LTE, they’re also paying three times as much for each gigabyte of data compared to Europeans.
According to the study, customers of Verizon Wireless are charged $7.50 for each gigabyte of data over LTE, while the average European is charged about $2.50 per gigabyte. The disparity is even larger in countries like Sweden where consumers pay as little as 63 cents per gigabyte.
One analyst claims that the higher LTE prices in the United States come from operators selling LTE as part of a larger mobile package, while European operators sell it as a stand-alone service at a lower price. As U.S. operators phase out their unlimited data plans, they’ve caused the price of LTE data to increase above European operators.
The other big difference for the data-price disparity is that there is simply more competition in Europe. With 38 operators selling LTE data, Europe as the greatest numbers of operators capable of selling LTE in one region. Small markets like Austria, Finland and Portugal all have at least three LTE operators.
With an absense of competition in the U.S. consumers shouldn’t expect to see LTE data prices dropping anytime soon. Verizon and AT&T command most of the mobile market in the U.S. as competitors like T-Mobile and Sprint struggle to keep up.
Source: New York Times.