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Report: US Mobile Data Prices Among The Most Expensive in the World

October 7, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

We all know that carriers have found out that mobile data is the new cash cow for them. Prior to smartphones it was minutes and text messages. Which are now both unlimited, since no one really uses them. There’s a new report that has come out today from The Economist which shows the raw prices for the US in terms of data packages as well as the rest of the world, which you can see in the graph above.

According to the research done by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) the average phone plan with 500MB of data costs $85 in the US. Remember that’s the average, because we all know there aren’t a whole lot of 500MB plans. In fact I think T-Mobile’s prepaid and postpaid, along with Verizon’s tiered data plans are the only 500MB plans from the big four carriers. Most MVNO’s are 2GB of more. T-Mobile’s 500MB is about $50 per month and obviously Verizon is much more. Over in China, 500MB of data on average costs about $24.10 and in the U it’s $8.80, and that’s all in terms of US dollar Purchasing-Power Parity (PPP).

The fixed prices really don’t tell the whole story as we know not everyone uses the same currency and not all currency is around the same. Also when you buy something from another country in US dollars, it’s not a straight conversion, so it’s really difficult to see. But based on this research it looks like the US pays the most for mobile data. Which really isn’t surprising, since we were one of the first countries to have LTE and get rid of unlimited data. We’ve got a couple of graphs down below that you’ll want to check out, that can tell the story a bit better.

Although, I’d like to see unlimited data plans come back and data prices drop. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. Especially with more data intensive phones and services coming out, it means more money for the carriers. How much are you paying for data and how much are you getting? Let us know in the comments below.