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May 02, 2008



The US is actually really bad in terms of cell phone feature availability. iPhone is helping change this, but the contrast is really stark. I've been to Russia a couple of years ago and even there cell phones are cheap, ubiquitous, and, compared to what we see in the US, very advanced. I think we'd see a lot of innovation in this space if wireless phone companies did not like locking in people into contracts (by subsidizing the heck out of el cheapo phones available on the US market) so much. Another thing is affordability. For some reason, US wireless providers love to nickel and dime their customers to death, and then some.

Prolific Programmer

While what you say is (entirely) true, I further think that there is a factor of the incumbent landline telco not being responsible for mobile deployment. In the US, AT&T and Verizon are the largest mobile providers, and simultaneously the largest fixed-line operators.


Innovation is driven by competition. In the US, the ogilopoly of wireless carriers keeps prices high and service poor. Japan has a very competitive carrier market. This is a huge factor, bigger than the ones that you state.

The telecom market, both wired and wireless, is keeping America in the second world of internet access.

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