Americans Pay The World's Most Expensive Smartphone Bills

U.S. smartphone owners pay a much higher monthly phone bill than their peers across the world.

According to Nielsen, American smartphone owners shell out an average of $93 for their monthly mobile service. That is 80 per cent higher than what’s paid by subscribers in the next closest country, Australia (which is followed closely by South Korea).

Higher monthly costs are a trade-off for upfront subsidies on handsets, but Australia and the UK historically offer subsidies too (this appears to be changing in the UK).

The U.S. is a wealthy country, so one expects bills to be higher than in India, but that doesn’t explain the discrepancy with many other developed markets.   

The iPhone, which promotes heavy data usage, does have a high market share in the U.S. But it also has high shares in Australia and the U.K.

A likely factor: the U.S. has more LTE subscribers. According to comScore, there were 33.1 million LTE subscribers in the U.S. at year-end 2012, with nearly all the rest on 3G phones. These data-intensive connections result in more data usage and pricier bills (even relative to European 3G and LTE packages). Also, unlimited data plans, now being phased out, have gotten U.S. consumers hooked on heavy data usage. 

These factors all probably play a role, as does the market dominance of two U.S. carriers: AT&T and Verizon. Still, it is hard to single out a single factor driving the enormous price difference.

Click here to view a larger version of this chart.

smartphone average monthly bill cost

Photo: BII

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