Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cell Phone Competition, Innovation and Consumer Value = 250 Million Satisfied Cell Phone Subscribers

WASHINGTON, DCThe Wireless Association announced yesterday that the total estimated wireless cell-phone subscribership in America officially passed the 250 million mark, reaching an all-time national high. Growth in subscribership has more than quadrupled over the past ten years from just over 55 million at year-end 1997 to more than 250 million today—an increase of 352%. The graphic above shows the progression of growth over the past 22 years.

Note: Given the current population of about 303 million, 218 million adults (18 and over) and 111 million households, that means that there are .825 cell phones per person (82.5% penetration rate), more than one cell phone per adult, and 2.25 cell phones per household, all record highs.

According to a Merrill Lynch study, Americans use more minutes for less cost than any other consumers in the developed world. The FCC reports 98% of Americans can choose from at least four service providers.

“The statistics speak for themselves,” said an industry spokesman. “The bottom line is that wireless companies are listening to their customers and in doing so are providing Americans of all walks of life with the mobile products and services that they want and need. Competition, innovation, and consumer value are driving the dynamic U.S. wireless marketplace, giving people access to amazing technology with plans almost anyone can afford and more choices than anywhere else in the world. ”

MP: Can you imagine what the record of costs, choices and service would be if cell phone service was provided by the government like first-class mail or public schools? If that socialist imagery isn't pleasant, do you really want the government to provide us with socialized health care in the future, and are you really that confident about a public school monopoly insulated from competition?

(HT: Ben Cunningham)

21 Comments:

At 11/14/2007 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MP: Can you imagine what the record of costs, choices and service would be if cell phone service was provided by the government...


Free calls to anyone, anywhere instead of trying to navigate a maze of plans like we have now.

 
At 11/14/2007 7:48 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Free calls to anyone, anywhere instead of trying to navigate a maze of plans like we have now"...

"Free"?!?!...LOL!

 
At 11/14/2007 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:39 - why do you suppose there are free call offered on many cell phone plans?

It couldn't be the competition...could it?

 
At 11/14/2007 9:17 PM, Anonymous holymoly said...

Prof. Perry:

Define "socialized medicine." Seriously. Give it a shot. No strawmen allowed.

 
At 11/14/2007 10:26 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Canadian health care is pretty socialized, let's start with that as a working model. See many previous CD posts on the problems with Canada's health care system.

 
At 11/14/2007 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark J. Perry said...

Canadian health care is pretty socialized, let's start with that as a working model. See many previous CD posts on the problems with Canada's health care system.


...or lets not start with the Canadian system.

Let us look for the best system...maybe a system that produces better results than our own.

Oh wait the Canadian system already does produce better results than ours does.

But the Canadian system has longer wait times, everyone is covered, there is no deductible for anything and the Canadian system gets statistically equivalent health care results, Canadians live longer and they do it for about half what we pay.

Why not look at the best of Germany's health care system. They get better results and have shorter wait times than we do.

 
At 11/15/2007 4:52 AM, Anonymous ko said...

It's irritating I suppose. Faced with acknowledging socialism's failures, or picking a needle from a haystack--yes!--grab needle. Even Brad DeLong acknowledges the failures of central planning (with remorse?)

Go MJ!

 
At 11/15/2007 1:25 PM, Anonymous holymoly said...

Prof. Perry:

So, people can't opt to purchase health care on the private market in Canada? Of course they can. The only thing they *can't* do in Canada is buy private health insurance.

Now, private health insurance, I would contend, *is* socialized medicine. Everyone gets together and contributes money to a common risk pool. A central planner decides where the socialized resource can and cannot be spent. The central planner has the incentive and means to skim more and more out of the common risk pool, because once people are locked into the system it's not advantageous for them to get out. Yup, sounds pretty much like socialism to me.

Not expecting a reply from you, Prof. Perry. You'll have moved on to other topics by now and probably won't want to debate on this issue.

 
At 11/15/2007 10:50 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hey slowlymoly, which planet does this happen on: "Everyone gets together and contributes money to a common risk pool. A central planner decides where the socialized resource can and cannot be spent"?

What drag! There's only ONE health insurance company there?!?!

 
At 11/16/2007 4:28 PM, Blogger Thomas Blair said...

holymoly,

You made the argument that private health insurance in socialism in practice. You are incorrect. You are not required by law to purchase health insurance. The risk pool is filled with individuals who voluntarily enter it. You are, however, required by law, backed by threat of incarceration and the barrel of a gun, to pay the taxes that fund national health care systems.

 
At 11/18/2007 8:35 PM, Anonymous holymoly said...

"slowlymoly"? Oh, Juandos -- I am dazzled by your intellect.

Well, once you're in for your ~$15,000 annual premium to your insurance company of choice, and you've just racked up a serious medical bill that said insurance company decides it will not pay -- at that point, yes, indeed there is only one insurance company. Pre-existing condition exclusions, exclusive networks (which mean you might have to switch doctors in the middle of a complex treatment), underwriting, etc. all mean that there is very little real choice in insurance. Particularly after your chosen insurer decides to screw you over.

Thomas Blair --

Nobody needs to threaten you with harm at the barrel of a gun when your untreated injury or illness can do it just as well.

 
At 11/18/2007 9:15 PM, Blogger Thomas Blair said...

holymoly,

A person's illness does not authorize them to steal from others to treat it.

 
At 11/18/2007 9:55 PM, Anonymous holymoly said...

Thomas Blair -

Didn't say that it did. But having such an illness or injury without having insurance is tantamount to suicide (corporeal or monetary, or both -- your choice).

 
At 11/18/2007 10:36 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Holymoly: Suppose I am a lifelong smoker and alcoholic and will die soon without a lung and liver transplant. And I need chemotherapy and radiation too to survive.

Does that mean you and others are obligated to pay for my medical expenses coercively with socialized medicine, to keep me from dying?

 
At 11/19/2007 11:49 AM, Anonymous holymoly said...

MJP --

If you happen to be in my private insurance (socialized) risk pool, then, yes -- if the social planner (insurance company) decides that such treatments are reasonable and necessary**, the money will be spent out of our common pool.

Your adverbial qualifier "coercively" is interesting. In fact, feeling that my premium contributions would be wasted on you, I could "voluntarily" exit the insurance plan -- but I won't get my premium back. And, say, if *I* happen to have some other form of "socially acceptable" cancer or other disease, I will not be able to get other insurance coverage on the private market. So, I have no choice -- unless I want to forego treatment and die (hence my "barrel of a gun" comment to T. Blair above). Private insurance *is* socialized medicine, Mark. The coercion comes once you're sick and unable to switch.

** Lung and liver transplants are rarely done together -- and I don't think they're really ever done together for cancer. When they are done, it's usually for cystic fibrosis or portal/pulmonary hypertension.

 
At 11/19/2007 1:16 PM, Blogger Thomas Blair said...

holymoly,

What you are forgetting, or willfully ignoring is that with a national health service I cannot opt out and quit paying "premiums". I can do this with private insurance. What I can also not do is choose to opt into a national health service. It is done to me, with or without my consent, and this coercive action is backed with the barrel of a gun and the threat of imprisonment.

The difference is liberty.

If a national health service were created and operated by the government, but it were operated in an actuarially sound manner using only participants who have explicitly opted into the system by indicating that they would like to fund the system through their own taxes, and not mine, I'd have little problem with it. There would, of course, need to be a Constitutional amendment authorizing the government to provide health care, but that's a topic for another day.

 
At 11/19/2007 1:37 PM, Anonymous holymoly said...

Thomas -

What you're failing to understand or are choosing to ignore is that IT IS NOT A FREE CHOICE to opt out of private health insurance once you are seriously ill. Except, of course, to the extent that suicide is free choice.

If you opt out of private insurance once you are seriously ill, you will not be able to get other insurance on the private market that will cover your pre-existing illness. And unless you are extremely wealthy, you will not be able to afford to pay for the health care costs on your own.

If you opt out of private insurance once you are seriously ill, that choice could mean death for you or your family member. No big bad government or "barrel of a gun" required.

 
At 11/19/2007 1:51 PM, Blogger Thomas Blair said...

holymoly,

Leaving the private insurance market after one gets sick is a free choice. Suicide is likewise a free choice. To argue otherwise tortures the meaning of the phrase.

Just for clarity's sake, will you please define what you take to be "free choice". When I say it, I'm not implying that choice doesn't have consequences. Choice always brings consequences, and those consequences are not always desireable. To argue that the presence of an undesireable consequence renders the action of choice unfree is disingenuous, and willfully deceptive.

 
At 11/19/2007 4:23 PM, Anonymous holymoly said...

Thomas --

OK, now we've reached the point where you admit that suicide is basically the only exit from private insurance for people who are seriously ill -- but it's OK because it was a free choice.

Sorry, but I think you've made my point.

 
At 11/19/2007 5:05 PM, Blogger Thomas Blair said...

holymoly,

My statements:
An apple is a fruit.
An orange is likewise a fruit.

Your conclusion? The only way to be an apple is to be an orange, but it's OK because it's all fruit.

Are you a syllogistic fallacy, or do you just play on on the internet?

Again, will you please define "free choice" as you use it?

 
At 5/26/2008 6:41 PM, Anonymous Autoversicherung said...

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