The Grass Is Always Greener Across The Pond

As a US-based mobile nut, I’m always looking abroad to Europe and Asia to see what’s coming in the mobile industry.’a0 For some reason, it seems that with mobile hardware, software, and web services, many innovations hit Asia and Europe before coming to North American shores.’a0 I think it has to do with regulatory environments and also culture.

This “grass is always greener” mentality hit me like a freight train yesterday when I saw a post from Taptu friend Ewan over at Mobile Industry Review.’a0 Basically, Ewan pointed out that 3, a UK mobile phone carrier, is offering the brand new Nokia N97 for free in exchange for customers signing an 18 month contract and a mere ‘a335/month (that’s roughly $58 US dollars for my fellow yanks) tariff!

In exchange for your ‘a335/month, you get 300 mobile minutes.’a0 Add on another ‘a35, and 3 will throw in unlimited data.

This is really an awesome deal, from a US perspective.’a0 If this a similar offering were made available by AT&T in the States, the handset would probably cost $300 or $400 up front, and you’d have to have a voice and data package that would be roughly $100/month; all with a 2-year agreement versus 3’s 18-month.’a0’a0 Note: I’m using the iPhone 3GS handset cost and monthly plan costs as a comparison.

Right now in the United States, no carrier is offering to subsidize the Nokia N97, meaning potential customers will pay the full $700 handset cost plus around $100/month to AT&T for voice/data services.

And don’t even get me started on how spotty AT&T’s voice and data network is here in the States.’a0 I know from friends that 3G speeds in the UK leave AT&T in the dust.

My point is this: competition in the mobile market is a good thing that benefits all mobile services consumers.’a0 3, in an effort to stand out, is giving a pretty sweet offer for customers who want to purchase top of the line handsets like the Nokia N97.’a0 Unfortunately here in the U.S., we only have two GSM carriers, leaving a void in terms of competition and therefore making our mobile landscape less attractive.

What’s the view like from the other side of the pond?’a0 How do you view the US mobile market?’a0 I look forward to being educated.

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