Why is U.S. always last in line for new phones?

That’s the question that’s answered in an MSNBC.com article by Michael Rogers. There’s nothing new in the article we haven’t heard before in regards to the factors that stop the progress in the U.S., but the article is a good read none the less. Some of the factors Michael talks about are:

  • "Early on, most of the world decided to all use the same technical standard — GSM — for their mobile phones.  In many countries, the government actually enforced that decision. In the U.S., on the other hand, free enterprise ruled and multiple standards competed, with GSM initially only a small part of the market."
  • "…high-speed cell phone networks — generically called 3G — are finally rolling out across the U.S., with Web surfing at speeds approaching that of home DSL (assuming customers are willing to pony up for the new services).  But there may also be some price competition to keep those services affordable: this year, a new technology service called WiMAX will appear, initially from Sprint and a start-up called Clearwire."
  • "Another kind of new signal is coming to U.S. cell phones this year: direct broadcast television. In the U.S., Verizon will be the first to introduce this new television service later this year, and in Barcelona AT&T announced they will do the same. The good news is that unlike the early days of the U.S. cell phone market, both carriers will actually use the same technology, which should make a bigger market for cool handsets.  The bad news is that, once again, the Americans have chosen a form of mobile TV broadcast that’s different than the one most of the rest of the world has adopted, so it could be a bit like the GSM situation revisited."

Michael sums it all up by saying "While choice is generally a good thing, it has unquestionably slowed progress."

I think I have to agree. What I wish the carriers in the U.S. would tell us is real numbers for video usage on their networks. If they are not going to share them, then stop trying to tell us how successful your service is. Because every time I ask for real data and numbers, the response I always get back from them is a response like "it’s wildly successful".