The Orange View (on hiatus) Because Apple is great but it isn't perfect

9Mar/11Off

Real mobile market competition on the cost side

One of the notable issues in the U.S. mobile phone market for many years was the lack of price competition despite the existence of a half-dozen national carriers. And, in turn, that limited the ground on which innovative tech companies like Apple could compete to improve the lot of we, the customers.

One problem was that not all the carrier were truly national in scope and the two largest players had regionally dominant profiles in different parts of the country. But that certainly seems to be changing lately. Now, Virgin Mobile, a virtual carrier that runs over Sprint's network, is offering a $25 per month plan with unlimited texting and web browsing. That is considerably less than half what you would pay on most other carriers and almost one-quarter of what I used to pay AT&T for my iPhone.

One big downside on previous cheap plans was the lack of good phones, or really any modern smart phones at all. Virgin is offering one Android smart phone, the LG Optimus V, which appears to be a decent handset, if CNET is to be believed. It's an example of the free Android OS enabling or bolstering business model innovation in the mobile market and that's a very good thing.

Posted by Aaron Pressman

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