Mobile phone and mobile data plans are certainly far from cheap in the United States. After you add the cost of the device and the monthly service along with the huge overage fees most carriers charge if you use more data than you’re allotted, 4G LTE is very expensive. A recent study by the research branch of the GSM Association based in London looked at whether or not LTE service in the United States costs too much.
The study looked at the Verizon Wireless LTE network, which is one of the largest in the US, and networks in European countries. The study found that through June of this year there were 27 million LTE subscribers in the world with roughly half of that number in the US. South Korea is the second-largest market for LTE service with 7.5 million users, followed by Japan with 3.5 million users. LTE service is available in 21 different European countries with Germany boasting the most users in Europe.
According to the survey, although the US is the largest LTE market in the world, the size the market hasn’t reduced prices for US customers. The study found that Verizon wireless charges $7.50 for each gigabyte of data downloaded over its LTE network. That amount is three times what the average European customer pays at $2.50 per gigabyte.
The numbers look even worse for US LTE customers when we compare prices to Sweden, which launched the world’s first available LTE networks in December 2009. Customers in Sweden pay as little the $.63 per gigabyte of data. A Verizon Wireless spokesperson says that the LTE plan cited in the study also includes unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text, picture, and video messages as well as mobile hotspot feature on the phone. If you remove all those extra features Verizon Wireless still charges $5.50 per gigabyte.