Although average wireless calling rates for 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries continue to fall, mobile phone bills for U.S. subscribers rank among the world’s highest according to an OECD report released on Tuesday. The OECD’s Communications Outlook is based on a survey of low, medium, and high-use wireless phone users that covers the 2006-2008 timeframe. For a medium-use package consisting of 780 voice calls, 600 short text messages and eight multimedia messages, the survey found that, as of August 2008, prices ranged in U.S. dollars from a low of $11 to a high of $53. Most of these rates on the low end of the scale were found in northern Europe, specifically in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands, where many subscribers have switched their landlines for cell phones. The highest rates were found in Spain, the U.S. and Canada. According to OECD economist Taylor Reynolds, one factor accounting for high prices in the U.S. and Canada is the absence of a “calling party pays” system that exempts wireless subscribers from having to pay for the calls they receive. In spite of these rate variations, average prices fell by an average of 21% for low-use customers, 28% for medium-use customers and by 32% for high-use subscribers during the survey period. The report also shows that wireless carriers’ total share of telecommunications sector revenue rose to 41% in OECD member countries by 2008. Noting that wireless sector revenues continue to rise in spite of the global economic downturn, Reynolds explained that mobile phone connections “are seen as a necessity, not as a luxury.”