Paying Too Much?

by Colin Berkshire

I just returned from a stint in Thailand.

A month of cellular service costs 1099 Baht. This includes 20 gigabytes of data. That’s $31. 20 Gigabytes.

That same service would cost you a minimum of $200 here in the US.

And, I will tell you that I never once got cut off. My call never dropped. Ever.

The calls in Thailand (and in most countries) are crystal clear. Unlike in the US, they use HD audio and higher bitrates. (Did you know that the US is the only region to use 6.5 kilobit encoding on GSM? Most of the world uses at least 13 kilobits and it sounds a lot better.)

There is clearly a sickness in the lack of competition and the lack of regulation in the US telecom industry. Let me count the ways:

  1. We pay too much. We have the highest rates.
  2. We have some of the slowest speeds.
  3. We have one of the thinnest tower densities, per square mile.
  4. Cellular companies won’t share bandwidth or towers.
  5. Vast portions of the US have no coverage at all.
  6. The majority of T-Mobile towers still seem to be Edge.