Yes, America, we really are paying too much for our monthly data plans. The New York Times reports that a new study from the GSM Association’s Wireless Intelligence research team has found that American Verizon (VZ) subscribers pay around $7.50 for each gigabyte of data they download, compared to European users who pay $2.50 per gigabyte. A Verizon spokesperson defended the company’s pricing to the Times and said that the study didn’t take into account that Verizon’s plans also offered unlimited voice and texting and weren’t straight-up data plans. Even so, taking voice and text prices out of the equation shows that Verizon customers pay $5.50 per gigabyte, more than double the European average.
Wireless Intelligence analyst Calum Dewar told the Times that one major reason for the price discrepancy is simply lack of competition in the American wireless market. According to Dewar, Europe has a total of 38 LTE wireless operators, and even small countries such as Finland, Portugal and Austria have three nationwide operators to choose from. In the U.S., meanwhile, only Verizon, AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) have anything approaching nationwide LTE services, especially since Sprint just started rolling out its LTE network this past summer.