Verizon’s Wireless Overcharging per GB, 7,400%-to-65,000% vs Overseas Prices.

Bruce Kushnick
8 min readMay 24, 2023

Read Part 1

This is Part 2: The above chart shows that overseas, the median 5G mobile broadband service cost per GB is .03 Euros — (one Euro is now $1.08 dollars) — less than 3 cents. Meanwhile, the Verizon 5G mobile broadband services we focused on in Part 1 costs $70 and comes with 5GB, and when taxes are added, it comes to $19.66 per gig. The $80 dollar service price per GB is $2.25, with the average of the two at $10.95 per GB, taxes and made-up hidden fees added.

Compare less than 3 cents per GB and $10.95 per GB, for the average of the Verizon 5G Wireless service — — and this means that the cost differential for these services is really, really huge. It is a whopping 7,400%-65,000% difference (rounded). (Verizon’s average of $10.95 is 36,400% above the median price per GB overseas.)

Note: One Euro is now equal to $1.08 dollars. Thus, the 19 Euro price for service comes to $17.48, converted to dollars, and unlike the US, overseas there is not a pile of added hidden fees. (We use Verizon’s estimated added fees.) Moreover, we converted the cost per GB to Euros as the Euro cost per gig, at .03, would get complicated with rounding.

New Research about Overseas 5G Wireless and Broadband.

The latest Rewheel Research Summary Report for 1st Quarter, 2023 on 5G wireless prices is by the respected Finish research firm, Rewheel Research, and it needs to be taken seriously. Moreover, America needs to understand how Verizon and AT&T have been able to manipulate their financial books in multiple ways over the last two decades, and the FCC, NTIA, and state telecom regulatory agencies are either captured by the industry or they are clueless.

Moreover, Spectrum/Charter, and some of the other cablecos are reselling Verizon’s wireless and are labeling it as their own. This collusion between Verizon, the holding company that controls the wired and wireless critical infrastructure — and thus controls the baseline price of service, and the other wired provider, the cable companies, have a de facto arrangement to hide that they are acting as a price fixing cartel. Also, Verizon never properly upgraded most of its territories, and this means that Verizon did not bring in high-speed broadband competition to lower rates for cable, and the cable companies are not competing for wireless. And this failure to do the upgrades created this Digital Divide.

In Part 1 we discussed how Verizon’s FiOS Home Internet, a fixed wireless broadband service, is now a deceptive bait and switch, where the advertised price can never be obtained, where the claims that there are no hidden fees is a blatant misrepresentation as it requires a customer to purchase a second, (hidden in the advertising) wireless service — at $70-$90 for one line, and that this service does have other hidden fees, such as the made-up Telco Recovery charge, and does have data caps, and the service is not even close to being comparable to the wireline FiOS fiber optic broadband service. Even the use of the name FiOS is a bait and switch, as Verizon is branding the wireless service as a ‘broadband line’. FiOS has been the name of their Fiber to the Home, FTTH, cable TV and broadband service since 2004, so allowing the FiOS brand to now be used for this inferior wireless service is purely a deceptive advertising slight-of-hand.

Price of the US Verizon 5G Service is 458% Above the Overseas Median Price

This chart uses the current Verizon 5G mobile broadband service we featured in Part 1 and adds the taxes, fees and surcharges, and then compares this to the Rewheel median cost for these services, using the European Union’s countries and others. The price for the 5G service we presented in Part 1 had an $80 package, but with added fees and taxes is actually $104, while the $70 package, which has only 5GB is $91, (and the average of the two is $97) — Now, compare this to the overseas median price of about $17.50.

That’s $97 vs $17.50 dollars, about a 458% difference. — So, besides getting only a small number of Gigs, Verizon’s prices for this example are being overcharged by about $80 a month!

And then we have the deceptive use of the word “Unlimited” in America vs Overseas.

In a previous report, Rewheel was unaware that these Verizon service plans, which claim they are ‘unlimited’, is a deceptive use of the word.

Overseas, this Rewheel chart shows just how deceptive the US market has become. Overseas, the word “unlimited” means — no caps.

This chart is based on the question — How many GB does a customer get for 25 Euros? And the countries on the right have actual unlimited plans — over 1000GB.

In 2020, Rewheel had been assuming that the word “unlimited” meant no caps, which is the case overseas. Rewheel, corroborated that America does not have unlimited wireless service and the term, as used, is confusing and misleading.

“We were misled by Verizon’s confusing wording that appears to suggest that users of these two plans (Play More Unlimited and Get More Unlimited) could consume unlimited gigabytes in 5G mode. We incorrectly assumed that Verizon’s throttling and de-prioritization monthly gigabyte limits (e.g. 50 gigabytes per month) only applied to 4G, not to 5G.”

“The United States continued to be one of the very few countries where consumers could not buy smartphone or mobile broadband plans with ‘truly’ unlimited data volume (i.e. 1000 gigabytes, higher or infinite gigabytes).”

They use the term “Truly Unlimited” to differentiate the meaning of this term from the American definition which means — “We fooled you, sucka”.

Why hasn’t the FTC and other agencies gone after this deceptive practice or the other deceptive billing and advertising practices we’ve been documenting for decades?

Because the public has no advocate at the FCC, no voice, except for scattershot attempts to go after these egregious acts.

Consequences and Bad Actors.

Imagine if the wireless services in the US were priced like the overseas markets, where you can get a 5G service for under $10.00 a month, and the larger packages with unlimited service can be $17–25.

As we have pointed out, over and over, ‘affordability’ is one of the largest issues of why customers don’t have internet connectivity for broadband service.

Government Subsidies — ACP, the low-income broadband connectivity subsidy program, has become a corporate con.

After the pandemic subsided and America had woken up to the fact America had massive holes in the deployment of high-speed broadband infrastructure, especially in low-income urban and rural areas, the government put into action a plan to subsidize low-income families so they could go online, as if this had not been a problem over the last 2 decades.

Instead of examining the actual causes of this Digital Divide, the telco/cable/cellco cartel figured out that they could use this to claim that they would do the right thing and give these customers broadband, some with special packages. But there was a sub-plot; they were designed to have the government subsidies reimburse the companies at retail rates, and they would also attempt to keep them as a customer or push them on to more expensive plans.

The title of an article by respected investigative telecom reporter Karl Bode says it all:

“FCC Low Income Broadband Program A Huge Windfall For Monopolies Causing The Broadband Affordability Problem We’re Pretending To Fix”

This accompanying chart shows how the cable and phone companies are making out like bandits because they have a monopoly on high-speed broadband services, as well as the critical wireline/wireless infrastructure used for the delivery of all services.

Cable-Broadband-Wired Internet is also Out of Control Compared to Overseas.

But, as we have pointed out previously, the high speed wireline services, which include the Triple Play- cable TV, broadband-internet and phone — are also out of control.

America’s ‘Triple Play’ Prices Overcharged up to $175.00 Per Month or More — Over $2,000.00 Per Year.

Using research from the European Union’s research reports — How is it possible that America’s Triple Play is $150-$200 a month over what is being charged overseas — that’s over $2,000.00 a year being overcharged to families, including low-income families and seniors? This is on top of the fact that there could be only one or no providers of high-speed connectivity services in the rural regions or the red-lined parts of cities.

Conclusion

I hear noise from the peanut gallery: –

But there are sales and promotions and the content services come from other services like Disney and, blah, blah, blah.

Enough: These Verizon packages compared to this overseas median pricing, shows that America’s wireless customers are being seriously overcharged, and the companies have the power and ability to keep the amount of capacity that we get for the money, at their discretion.

And as far as we know — Not one state, not one government broadband agency, not even politicians, have called for audits and investigations of these telecommunications companies, including Verizon, as well as AT&T, or the cable companies. These very few companies that are colluding instead of competing, that control the infrastructure, have slapped America in the face with these overcharges.

Part 3: Follow the Money of the FWA Wireless Cross-Subsidies — Audit the Books, and Fix the Digital Divide, without Government Subsidies.

Is it that much cheaper for a company to offer broadband wireless or a wireline Triple Play with high-speed broadband overseas than in the US?

Warning — Beware of the responses from the coin-operated academics, pundits, and analysts…

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Bruce Kushnick

New Networks Institute,Executive Director, & Founding Member, IRREGULATORS; Telecom analyst for 40 years, and I have been playing the piano for 65 years.