Despite being the world leader in 4G uptake, research claims that on average, US consumers are paying $5 more per gigabyte of data than their European counterparts.
A survey by the GSM Association, published Tuesday in the New York Times claims that 4G LTE Services cost too much in the USA. In fact, the average American pays three times more per gigabyte of downloaded data than the average European.
And, while the study has been grabbing headlines, some have highlighted that the 4G contract chosen for comparison was the Verizon Wireless Share Everything Plan, which, as well as a 4G data allowance that can be shared over a number of devices, also bundles in unlimited call and text minutes each month.
The GSM survey claimed that while US subscribers are charged $7.50 per gigabyte, the average charge in Europe is $2.50. However, if the Verizon contract used for the comparison is exchanged for a data-only plan, the average, while still higher than in Europe, would fall to $5.50 per gigabyte.
What's more, separate ABI survey published on October 4 noted that while 4G data is priced on average 20 percent higher than its 3G counterpart, right across the world, there were signs that competition in the market had already started to drive down prices or increase data limit caps in Singapore, Norway, Hong Kong and the US.
Of ABI's findings, its research associate Marina Lu said, "4G technology has given operators not just greater download speeds, but also greater capacity. Therefore there is a degree of price elasticity. As 4G devices come down in price, operators will be keen to increase 4G market-share. Cutting tariffs, or boosting data quotas, will be tempting but they need to make sure they achieve greater overall returns."
The US is currently the largest 4G LTE market in the world, accounting for almost half of the 27 million global subscribers, and there are fears that if prices don't come down soon adoption rates of this technology will stagnate, which in turn will make it more difficult for operators to reduce the prices of their tariffs.