Re: Thanks Bill
Things are significantly worse for customers in the US. Yes, you generally don't have to pay roaming charges, but call and data charges are sky high and even include paying to receive calls.
Roaming doesn't exist but until a few years ago it was not uncommon to have to buy a new phone if you went somewhere that your network didn't cover. It wasn't even a question of whether roaming would have been expensive, it wasn't technically possible all the networks had mutually incompatible networks: Verizon was on CDMA, Sprint/NextTel on IDEN, AT&T on GSM and CDMA, MetroPCS on its own stuff and only T-Mobile wholly embracing European / world standards from the onset. Even now I'm not sure if the LTE networks are compatible with each other.
As a result some shareholders have done very well out of low levels of competition and high-tariffs:
From AT&T's 2Q report:
This marked the 18th consecutive quarter AT&T has posted a year-over-year increase in postpaid ARPU
ARPU in Europe has been in terminal decline for most of this millenium and that despite the smartphone boom. And, no, this hasn't been due to regulatory burdens, just straight competition.
If you do have an American phone then roaming charges to other countries in the same free trade area, NAFTA, remain extortionate.