Mobile phone users in the U.S., Canada, Spain pay the most

The Wall Street Journal are reporting that out of 30 surveyed countries, cell phone users in the U.S, Canada, and Spain have the most expensive mobile phone bills in the world.

"People don't give up their cell phones. Many of us are on two-year contracts, and we can't just walk away from them," Taylor Reynolds, an economist with the OECD's Telecommunications and Internet Policy division, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "Mobile phone connections are seen as a necessity, not as a luxury."

According to a new report published by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, revenue in the mobile phone sector is on the rise, despite the current economic downturn.

Mobile phones are becoming cheaper, and service is more readily available. However, there still remains a large gap in pricing and usage patterns around the world. Mobile phone service is generally cheaper in Europe compared to the United States, and users in northern Europe, especially those in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands, are paying the least for their mobile phones and are therefore increasingly moving away from traditional land line phone service and relying more their cellular devices.

"Cell phones are cheap, and they see no reason to keep their fixed line," said Mr. Reynolds.

One European country that goes against the low-price trend is Spain. Buying a phone or a SIM card do not pose a significant cost , said Mr. Reynolds, but "but usage is very expensive."

Miguel Garzon, a spokesperson for Telefónica SA, says that "it is very difficult to compare the different types of plans in different countries." The Spain-based telecommunications company dominates the Spanish mobile phone market, but has a strong presence across Europe and Latin America.

One of the reasons why the U.S. and Canada are such expensive markets for mobile phone users is because, unlike in Europe, consumers in North America often pay to receive phone calls which leads to an increase in service fees. "You have to have a certain income level to afford it," said Mr. Reynolds.

Italy is where the most mobile phones are used, with 150 mobile phone subscribers for every 100 residents in the country. People have "multiple accounts, multiple SIM cards, multiple phones," said Mr. Reynolds.

Mexico, which is one of the fastest-growing mobile markets, still has the second-lowest mobile market penetration rate. Currently, a little over 60 out of every 100 people in Mexico own a cell phone. Canada presently has the lowest mobile-phone penetration rate from the list of countries surveyed.

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23 Comments

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nothing says money hungry like double dipping even though here in new zealad we get charged like wounded bull for making calls and sending txts atleast the person recieving them doesn't also get charged
$0.10 for txts between same provider and $0.20 between different providers
call costs can very depending on when who and where your calling and sometimes even what plan your on

I'm not surprised. I think of the few countries I've visited, the US is the only place where both the caller and the person answering gets charged simultaneously. I believe it the same for text messages too.

It is because there are a lot of suckers who buy things they don't need. Like so called XXX "free" minutes and unlimited texts they don't use or expensive phones with N year contracts just to show "extra" features to friends for 1 month.

Beastage said,
Why would it change? the problem is with the customers, not the business that just exploits a possibility.
They shouldn't be allowed to exploit the customers (no matter how ****ing dumb they are) because of an overhyped product. Thanks to Apples phone and its outrageous plans, more regular contracts are beginning to have 1 year+ tie-ins. This was very uncommon in Sweden up until about a year ago.

progh said,
...that will change if vodafone and orange will go to US

I wish they'd come to Canada. Unfortunately, those CRTC idiots forbid foreign wireless companies from providing service in Canada and that is why we're stuck with the three stooges (Bell, Telus, and Rogers) and their ripoff wireless plans.

And while US carriers such as AT&T don't charge for domestic long distance, the Canadian ones do. Mind you, there are numerous ways to bypass that! :P

India -

The normal call rates (outgoing) are 0.01$ or 1 Cent per minute for local calls within the City and 2 cents for anywhere in the country and they can go lower if you get a good plan.

Sending texts is usually free or around 0.004$ per text.

Incoming calls/texts from anywhere in the world is free unless you're on roaming.

I find it so strange that companies in the US can tieing the consumers down to a 2 year contract or longer.

Here in Denmark the law prohibits ANY company from tieing a consumer down to a contract longer then 6 months. The law exist to protect the consumer from from companies. After 6 months you can choose to walk away and sign for any other company you want or extend your contract.

yeah, comparing our plans to the american carriers it's ridiculous, and to say that almost everyone uses a pay only what you use system.

And you're right, that trend is growing really fast, everyone has 2 cell phone numbers with everything unlimited, that will cost a total(for both numbers) of 28$ (20eur) a month.
It also surprises me that we have so good 3,5G (21,6 mb) coverage =P

This is a little unfair, technically they all use the same network. Whn I go on holiday in the US, or Spain, I don't get charged for receiving calls or texts, even though I'm probably on AT&T at some point.
For once the US actually has to pay more for a piece of technological hardware than the UK. Doesn't feel nice, does it?!

...in addition, if you get an iPhone in the US, you have to get an additional $10 a month add-on plan that allows you to receive SMS text messages from a broad. What a load of bull! So, over the 18 month life time of the plan, you have to pay $180 (+tax) to AT&T for the same service the people in Europe get for free!

People in the US are dumb! They seem to be quite happy to pay for incoming text messages and calls!!!!

YES YOU HEARD RIGHT!
In the USA, most phone companies charge their US customers to receive incoming SMS text messages and calls! That's like paying your post office for receiving a letter when the sender has already paid for the total postage. The funny thing is that most Americans that I have spoken to are totally unaware that the test of the world does not charge for this, as the sender pays and not the receiver.

The only reason the US phone companies are getting away this this B is because most Americans don't complain.

If only more Americans call up their ell phone companies and complained, perhaps they would take note.


I love it. I get a post pulled for being "flamebait" because I commented how Apple Macbooks have junk drives that are failing and THIS isn't considered flamebait???

Why? What he said is true!! Up here in Canada it's like that too.. people are idiots, they let these companies roll right over them.