Americans paying too much for LTE? GSM Association suggests so

Summary:Americans are overpaying for 4G LTE service in comparison to their European counterparts, according to The GSM Association.

If you have ever found yourself complaining that you're paying too much for LTE service, some of your qualms might be justified, based on a new study.

The New York Times cited a report on Monday published by The GSM Association, which highlighted that Americans are paying anywhere between twice as much to 10 times more than Europeans are paying for 4G LTE services.

For example, Verizon Wireless, the top mobile provider in the United States at moment, was said to charge up to "$7.50 for each gigabyte of data downloaded over its LTE network," compared to the European average of $2.50. In Sweden, the rate was said to be as low as 63 cents.

While that seems like an outrageous disparity in costs across the Atlantic, the primary reason mentioned in the NYT report as to why this price gap exists is actually quite simple: competition.

The United States is a giant country with actually very little competition on the national stage when it comes to wireless providers.

The easiest example of this would be to look back at the iPhone when it was issued exclusively by AT&T, all the while it was being offered by multiple carriers (and even unlocked) in almost every other country where it was available.

Going back to the topic at hand, AT&T and Verizon are the two major sellers of LTE contracts nationwide. (That could change if the Sprint-Softbank deal goes through, but we'll have to wait and see on that one.)

But Wireless Intelligence analyst Calum Dewar pointed out to the NYT that "Europe has the greatest number of operators selling LTE: 38 of 88 operators worldwide."

Thus, you have to wonder if it's even fair to compare U.S. rates with Europe based on the current circumstances considering they're so different.

At the same time, it's perfectly fair to argue that there should be more room for competition between wireless providers in the United States because based on these prices, the consumers are going to be footing some major bills for a long time to come.

Topics: 4G, AT&T, EU, Mobility, Verizon

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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