Competition in the market for 3G mobile phone services heats up with T-Mobile’s launch of its 3G network in New York City. According to Om Malik, T-Mobile’s latest move doesn’t add up to much in the short term since the network is limited to NYC and only four handsets can use it (I have no idea why my Nokia N95 can’t use it). However, in the long term, T-Mobile is rolling out 3G in other cities so at some point, Om believes, there will be more price competition for bundled voice and data services.
I am not at all impressed with the speed (or rather lack of it) of rollout of faster cellular networks in the US. In London, they’re already on 4G (or what really is 3.5G). Cellular operators outside the US offer mobile phone service with higher speeds, better in-building penetration, and broader areas of coverage. However, US cellular phone service is still on the average cheaper than in Europe simply because you don’t have roaming charges when you go from one state to another.
In Finland and Sweden, the mobile operators are now offering flat-rate 10 EUR to 30 EUR per month data subscriptions. As a result, accessing the Internet, email, and online applications via a mobile phone have skyrocketed in these countries. These cellular data plans now compete favorably against the fixed broadband plans offered by landline DSL operators. However, people who travel from Finland or Sweden to other countries will still have to pay hefty data roaming rates. Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for telecommunications, wants to force the operators to lower those rates, as she did with the voice roaming rates.