Canada and US pay most for cellphone plans

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The US is amongst the most expensive countries on the world for cellphone service, a study from a non-profit public policy institute has found.

The New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative (OTI) researched cell phone voice, text and data services for prepaid, regular postpaid, and unlimited postpaid plans provided by prominent cell phone carriers in 11 countries.

It found that Canada was the most expensive country for a complete package of voice text and data, costing $67.50 per month. But the US was not far behind at $59.99 per month. For the UK, the figure was $32.40.

But at the bottom end of the chart, the costs are vastly lower.

Indians pay just $12.90 for the same package, and it's $13.50 in Hong Kong and $18.60 in Japan.

"It is clear that some countries offer service at consistently lower prices than others. The United States tends to fall in a band of countries that charge higher prices to individual wireless consumers for everything except pure voice service where prices are comparable," say the report's authors.

"Cost structures and business models undoubtedly vary as a result of the level of competition and innovation in each country and it is essential that in the countries that have high prices such as the US, we carefully consider additional steps that could be taken."

The call for greater competition or increased regulation to drive prices down.

Wireless competition has been a thorny issue recently, with the federal Communications Commission launching a wide-ranging investigation a year ago.  However, the latest government figures show that prices have halved in the last ten years.