For the first time, Americans are more likely to have a mobile phone that can connect to carriers’ fast, 3G networks than their Western European counterparts. Some 28.4% of U.S. wireless subscribers have 3G-capable phones, comScore M:Metrics reports, versus an average 28.3% of subscribers in the Western European countries that M:Metrics measures — Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and the U.K. In the last year, the number of U.S. subscribers with 3G phones has grown 80% to 64.2 million.
While a rather wonky bragging right, this is good news for U.S. wireless carriers like AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), and Sprint Nextel (S). The more subscribers with faster phones, the more potential buyers of mobile data services — mobile Web access, music downloads, and streaming video — an area where carriers are desperately trying to grow revenue. Supporting data point: Last year, AT&T said its 3G customers spent about twice as much money per month on data services as its non-3G customers.
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