"The data shows that U.S. consumers don't consider long-term costs, [which is] perfectly rational because the long-term cost is the same, irrespective of the device chosen," said Singh. "However, in other countries, the long-term cost depends on the chosen device, which is why it becomes a major factor driving purchases."
And the high price of the iPhone, which has pushed Apple's revenue and profit to record heights, may not be able to withstand a spreading of that model to the U.S.
"Carriers in Europe and other countries offer many plans that don't have any upfront cost, so the monthly expenses certainly seems to be having an impact," Singh said.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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