I can’t remember where I saw this OECD study first:
Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden have the lowest prices for mobile phone calls among OECD countries, according to the latest OECD Communications Outlook. The highest were found in Canada, Spain and the United States.
But after listening to folks on the right talk about healthcare, I know the above study has a number of implications:
1. The US (together with Canada and Spain) has the best cell phone service in the world.
2. The US (together with Canada and Spain) produces the most innovation in cell phone service anywhere in the world. Americans have access to the most advanced cell phones and cell phone service in the world. Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden no doubt produce the least amount of cell phone innovation.
3. There are an awful lot of Finns and Swedes coming to the US in order to make calls and buy cell phones with features that just aren’t available in their home countries.
4. It is vital that customers in the US (plus Canada and Spain) continue to pay the highest rates for cell phone usage. Otherwise, the innovation will cease everywhere in the world and we’ll all be forced to start yelling at each other instead of using cell phones.
5. The few problems there are with cell phone service in the US would disappear if the government stopped interfering. Let the cell phone companies decide for themselves what frequencies to use.
6. If for some reason the government decided to offer cell phone service, nobody would ever be allowed to make a call on the network owned by a private company or buy a cell phone from a private providers
7. If for some reason the government decided to offer cell phone service, even if it did not make it illegal to make calls on someone else’s network, it would immediately drive out all the private providers. This is evidence that private providers are more efficient than the government.
8. Should the government decide to enter the cell phone market, it will start rationing the amount of phone calls people are allowed to make. And the elderly will get mandatory counseling on how to stop making phone calls permanently.
9. In the current system, nobody is denied access to phone calls in an emergency simply because they can’t afford cell phone service. Why, say some poor person (or God forbid, an illegal immigrant!!) needs to call the police because someone is breaking into their hovel. All they have to do is sneak past the criminals and wander around until they stumble on a phone.
10. Since we’re on the subject of poor people and illegal immigrants – the reason cell phone service is so expensive in the US is because those folks insist on using pay phones.
What has the OECD study combined with the debate on healthcare taught you?