Up to this point, 4G prices have been higher than 3G . But that could already be changing.
Comparing retail prices between the second quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2012, service providers in 73 percent of countries have reduced the “effective cost” of their 4G tariffs to a significant degree, according to ABI Research.
The effective cost in terms of “dollars per gigabyte” has dropped by 30 percent, overall. In United States, service providers kept fees the same but offered larger data quotas.
In Australia, Sweden, Japan, Singapore and Saudi Arabia the operators lowered the monthly fee but have data quotas unchanged.
India currently offers the lowest priced plan, ABI Research says. India’s lowest priced mobile data plans decreased 29.4 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2012.
And some mobile service providers are pricing 4G at a discount to 3G. “In Norway, Telenor has introduced 4G tariffs that are cheaper than 3G,” ABI Research says.
Mobile broadband services using Long Term Evolution will experience a substantial 60-percent price drop in retail prices between 201 1and 2016, according to Tariff Consultancy, on the way to gaining 250 million users worldwide by the end of 2016.
Average monthly user data allowances for LTE mobile broadband services in 2011 were about 22 GBytes per month, in some cases ranging as high as 80 GB per month in the case of Tele2 Sweden.
The average mobile broadband price globally for a top of the range LTE mobile broadband service was 50 Euros per month, for two-year postpaid contract service.
The study showed that average LTE broadband prices ranged from 0.5 Euro (Tele2 Sweden) up to 9.9 Euro (Omnitel Lithuania) per GByte of data mobile usage.
But retail prices started dropping at least by 2011. . Telstra (Australia) “BigPond” offered an 8 GByte monthly data user allowance for the equivalent of 30 Euro per month,
BigPond had launched offering 4 Gbytes for 38 Euro. In Singapore M1 (Mobile One) was offering customers a 40 percent discount off the monthly list price.
The price trends might not be so obvious in all markets. U.S. service providers, so far, have generally tried to price at a premium for LTE services.
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